“The Mangrove cover is very intense because the carbon stored in it is ten times higher than terrestrial cover,” said His Excellency Deputy President Hon William Ruto who graced the World Environment Day celebrations.
KMFRI’s Chief Scientist Dr James Kairo is one of the initiators of the Mikoko Pamoja (mangroves together) project. The scheme is meant to restore Gazi Bay’s coastal ecosystems. Community members have planted thousands of mangrove seedlings each year and are trading the resulting carbon offset on the global market thereby protecting the coastline, restoring local fisheries, and bringing in more than $25,000 for community initiatives in the project’s first two years alone.
KMFRI staff led by Dr Kairo and Mr Charles Mitto, currently pursuing a PhD in Microplastics, participated at the WED, a global calendar event marked on 5th June. This year’s theme was “Beat Plastic Pollution, Greening the Blue”. DP Ruto was accompanied by Environment CS Mr Keriako Tobiko and Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, among other senior state officials and politicians, in marking the event nationally celebrated at Baraza Park, Kwale county. The National Environment Management Authority, the organiser of the function, World Wildlife Fund and Kenya Association of Manufacturers took part in the celebrations.
DP Ruto emphasized that all Kenyans have the responsibility to take care of the environment to decrease marine pollution. He said more than one million tonnes of plastics are released annually into the oceans and land-based activities are compromised by negative marine action and vulnerable ecosystems suffer as a consequence. “When fish ingest plastics, they are hazardous to human beings since the same fish ends up in our lunch and dinner plates,”he said.
The DP urged the manufacturing sector to use alternative packaging materials to curb plastic pollution and asked schools to roll out environmental studies at all levels to increase awareness.
Commending Gazi village for their tremendous efforts in exporting and selling carbon credit, the Environment CS through a slogan ‘Panda Mikoko, Penda Pwani’ asked the government to fund the programme to improve biodiversity conservation. He said 50,000 of coastal line is degraded. The government is initiating a master plan to include mangroves in conservation projects. Various stakeholders were honoured for their remarkable
WED was set aside since 1974 to promote “worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment”. This year, the international event took place in India.