Preservation of the ozone layer is a major environmental concern globally, according to Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Prof. Judy Wakhungu.
Prof. Wakhungu made the remarks during the national celebrations of the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer at the Kihoto grounds in Naivasha on September 16, 2016.
In a speech read on her behalf by the Permanent Secretary Environment, Dr. Charles Sunkuli, Prof. Wakhungu said that Kenya has committed to reducing HydroFloroCarbons (HFCs), which are among the most commonly emitted Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) in the world currently, under auspices of the Montreal Protocol which Kenya ratified in 1997.
The Montreal Protocol on the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. Since its ratification, Prof. Wakhungu noted, the country has made considerable progress in adopting ozone friendly technologies to minimize GHG emissions.
On his part, Dr. Sunkuli reiterated that harmful environmental practices, such as charcoal burning and burning of plastic waste, contributed immensely to GHG emission in Kenya. The PS said that Lake Naivasha, in particular, has been greatly affected by the irresponsible dumping of waste.
“We should adopt responsible solid waste management practices. Very soon, the national government shall embark on a national mapping of all landfills. We want every county to have at least one sanitary landfill to improve on solid waste management in the country,” he said.
Dr. Sunkuli reiterated that the national government would always support county governments in issues affecting environmental management. He urged residents to plant more trees in their homes.
His remarks were echoed by the Chief Officer Environment at the Nakuru County Government, Dr. Nelson Maara Tanui, who said that climate change was a real phenomenon, citing erratic rainfall patterns and the inexplicable filling up of lakes as examples.
“All the four lakes in Nakuru county; Naivasha, Nakuru, Elementaita and Solai, are suddenly and inexplicably filling up with water. Scientists have been baffled by this phenomenon, and are studying data on lake levels going back 30 years,” he said.
Saying that Nakuru County had experienced especially good rainfall over the past three years, Dr. Tanui reiterated that the effects of climate change were both good and bad. He called on residents to plant more trees, construct roof gutters to harvest rain water, and to adopt responsible practices in the dumping of solid waste.
“We want to eliminate plastic bags completely from our environment. Nakuru County is supporting small scale recyclers, such as a group in Bahati who recycle solid waste to make fertilizer. We urge other entrepreneurs to do the same and we shall support them,” he said.
He added that the administration in Nakuru had zoned the county into 46 zones to help in solid waste management. Also in attendance at the fete was the permanent representative to the Kenya mission to the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, who read the speech of the United Nations Secretary General.