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KWS urges plastics ban to save Lake Nakuru National Park

Thursday May 5 2016

KWS Senior Warden Dickson Ritan. He has urged

KWS Senior Warden Dickson Ritan. He has urged the Nakuru County government to ban use of plastics to save the Lake Nakuru National Park. FILE PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ERIC MATARA
By ERIC MATARA
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Increased human activity and poor solid waste management are threatening Lake Nakuru National Park, one of Kenya’s top animal sanctuaries.

Some leaders, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and local civil society groups have called on the county government to ban use of plastics to save the park.

KWS Senior Warden Dickson Ritan lamented that plastic bags are also threatening aquatic life.

“If this continues unchecked, the lake will eventually become too toxic to sustain aquatic life. Other wildlife animals are also at the risk of eating the plastic which will definitely lead to their deaths,” said Mr Ritan.

A recent report indicated that in 2015 alone, over 20 tonnes of plastic waste were collected on the shores of Lake Nakuru.

This is in addition to encroachment that has led to destruction of the park. The park is among top international and local tourism destinations in the country. Increased siltation is endangering aquatic life.

Mr Ritan blamed increased deaths of aquatic life to poor solid waste disposal and dumping.

MAJOR THREAT TO PARK

“The county government should move with speed to arrest the situation because pollution from plastic bags is a major threat to the park,” Mr Ritan added.

He warned that there was a serious threat to the park that is a local and international tourist destination.

“There is a lot of solid waste from the town and nearby catchment areas which has negatively impacted on our work. The lake’s ecosystem, of which our mandate is to safeguard, is in danger,” he said.

The warden cited a surging human population in Nakuru Town as the major cause of increased pollution saying the use of plastic containers had shot up.

He called on Governor Kinuthia Mbugua to encourage investment in the plastic waste management saying that if nothing is done in the near future, the situation will worsen.

“Pollution from plastic waste is seriously getting out of hand, let our county government act faster,” Ritan said.

The civil society led by the Centre for Good Governance and Democracy (CEGGD) and lobbyist James Wakibia under the hash tag #ISupportBanPlasticsKe are among those pushing for the ban on use of plastic bags in Nakuru County.