Kenyans should prepare for an increase in malaria cases as the effects of global warming begin to be felt, a UN agency has warned.
“As the temperatures increase in areas such as Nairobi, which is generally but not entirely free of malaria, the mosquitoes that carry it will certainly be able to breed, which will cause problems with the disease in areas that are not currently plagued by this,” said Mr Tim Kasten, head of the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation at the United Nations Environmental Programme.
He said pollution from industries along the coast could increase with the rise of water levels that have already been predicted by a UN Habitat report.
The rise of water levels along the coast is also expected to increase pollution in the ocean as roads, residential buildings and sewerage systems become affected.
Mr Kasten said both the Government and NGOs involved in environmental work should look at how the infrastructure could be improved to avoid the effects of climate change.
There was already an increase in temperatures and frequent storms in seas, floods and droughts, indications that the effects of global warming were beginning to be felt sooner than earlier predicted.
Mozambique has suffered floods this year, so did Mandera in Kenya a week ago. The latest report from the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change says climate change will increase rapidly over the next 50 years if there is no drastic increase in interventions.
Mr Kasten said the full impact of climate change would be felt by 2050, noting that although Africa was not the main cause of environmental pollution, the effects were felt more on the continent than in the rest of the world.
He was addressing a conference on the improvement of environmental education in schools. He said Kenya needed to stop deforestation to secure the country’s water towers.