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Let's free Mother Earth of pollutants for a better future

Climate change mitigation and adaptation is a long-term process. [iStockphoto]

Our mother earth is becoming more and more inhospitable due to unprecedented human greed and desire for personal happiness. The surge in world population and the accompanying resource utilisation has polluted mother earth to the core.

The perception of having an immaculate earth free of any pollutants is long fused. The 1970 declaration of celebrating mother earth and protecting it for future generations is no longer tenable in practice.

On World Earth Day, which is celebrated on April 22 every year, we are expected to do everything environmentally friendly to safeguard our planet. There is no need to enumerate the obvious; however, afforestation and stoppage of pollution take the centre stage of action.

We are supposed to protect any further pollution or degradation beyond the damages caused by our anthropogenic activities. The activities we carry out for financial gains have impacted on the stability of our planet ecosystems. Changes that never occurred for several years back are now haunting us. Climate change is the sum total of what man does.

The changes are impacted by air pollution, deforestation, invasion of ecosystems, persistent organic pollutants (pop), biomagnification, solid wastes and all aspects of industrial activities. The current drought devastating many East African countries is a consequence of unstoppable climate change. We cannot mitigate it neither can we adapt.

Climate change mitigation and adaptation is a long-term process, which calls for total national rehabilitation and strict adherence to the environmental laws of a country, in our case the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA), 1999.

The worst is yet to come as we continue polluting our planet with impunity. The origin of progressive drought is obviously environmentally related and the drivers can be enumerated. Climate change continues to worsen drought, with even water-rich countries praying for financial material support.

To invest in our planet calls for any environmental activity that mitigates further excesses. How can we invest in mother planet to make our lives happier and healthier? We see the devastation at our doorsteps but have no forceful capacity to deter the damages.

In my view, what aches mother earth and our country Kenya is impunity and disrespect for environmental laws. Chapter Five of our Constitution on Land and Environment is explicit on our role as citizens. Partial noncompliance with EMCA, 1999, and Nema playing a passive role on the implementation of the law will make our country perpetually relief food dependent.

Climate change is impacting on all aspects of our lives and we have a bleak chance of self-sustenance if we do not urgently change our socioeconomic outlook. World Earth Day is celebrated annually but its significance is downplayed despite loud publicity on climate change impact and mitigation. Each of us has a role to play and stop future environmental deterioration: We shall not regret.

-Prof Michieka is the president of Kenya National Academy of Sciences (KNAS)