A state agency has cited pollution, deforestation, habitat loss coupled with climate change as the biggest threats to the environment.
In a statement by the National Environmental Complaints Committee (NECC) to commemorate World Environment Day today, the agency noted an increasing trend of disappearing animals and plant species as a result of environmental pressures.
The statement said the transformation of natural ecosystems into agricultural fields and urban areas, the release of pollutants into the environment had contributed to disappearing species.
“As Kenya joins the rest of the global community in marking the World Environment Day under the theme ‘Time for Nature,’ with a focus on its role in providing the essential infrastructure that supports life on earth and human development, there are key threats to biodiversity that Kenya as a country must address. They are climate change, habitat loss and degradation, pollution, invasive species and overexploitation,” NECC Secretary Dr John Chumo said.
Climate change in Kenya, he said, has had adverse impacts on the country’s economic development.
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The effects of climate change, he said, had resulted in recurring droughts, erratic rainfall patterns and floods which continue to negatively impact livelihoods and community assets.
Deforestation, the committee said, has also been a major challenge caused by illegal logging and charcoal burning.
“Of Kenya’s 30,000 square kilometres of tree cover, more than 8 per cent was lost between 2001 and 2014,” the statement noted.
Dr Chumo, however, added that efforts in place by the government to restore Kenya’s degraded water towers were part of a wider campaign to tackle climate change.
Some of the major water towers targeted for restoration include Mount Kenya, the Aberdares, Mount Elgon, the Cherangani Hills and the Mau Complex.
The committee said there is a need for the government to enact policies that will control over-hunting, over-fishing and over-harvesting that contribute greatly to the loss of biodiversity.