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Magadi may die in five years, warn experts

By Robert Kiplagat | September 4th 2020 at 10:00:00 GMT +0300

Environmental Complaints Committee officials assess gulleys at Emurtoto in Narok. [Robert Kiplagat, Standard]

Lake Magadi, the only source of soda ash in the country, is facing extinction in the next five years with human activity threatening it with siltation.

This is according to the National Environment and Complaints Committee (NECC), which went on a fact-finding mission on the degradation of the lake's five catchment areas in Narok County.

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Committee Secretary John Chumo said unabated cultivation of catchment areas such as Nairagie-Enkare, Kormoto, Oloitip, Suswa and Oltapot has contributed to siltation in the lake situated 640 metres above sea level.

“The upper catchment areas are 2,000 metres above sea level, making the lake vulnerable to siltation due to soil deposits carried by River Kisamis downwards,” said Dr Chumo.

He said 30 per cent of Lake Magadi was already covered by silt and should siltation continue the lake will completely disappear in the next five years.

Chumo said the lake contributes over Sh5 billion annually in foreign exchange and supports the livelihoods of the local community.

Since 2005, however, the lake has continued to shrink due to siltation estimated at 8,000 tonnes on every rainy day.

Chumo urged the national government to engage the ministries of Environment, Lands, Water and Roads, the Kenya Water Towers Agency and the private sector in saving the lake.

Ezekiel Leposo, a resident of Nairege-Enkare, said floodwaters had created huge fissures in the villages.

“There is a huge crack where floodwater disappears underground. We never knew where the water ends up, only to learn that they flow all the way to Lake Magadi,” he said.


National Environment and Complaints Committee Lake Magadi
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