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SIXTH GREEN EDUCATION DAYKenyatta University Green Education Hub marked its 6th Green Education Day on 27th Friday, January 2023, at the main campus‘Wetland Restoration’

Wetlands are ecosystems where land is either permanently or seasonally partially saturated with water. They are regarded as among the most productive and vital ecosystems globally, even comparable to coral reefs and forests. Wetlands are seen as “biological supermarkets” providing vast volumes of food that support a wide variety of flora and fauna. These ecosystems play other vital roles, such as flood prevention, carbon sinks, water purification and climate change mitigation.

The world marks Wetlands Day every 2nd day of February each year. On this day also, the anniversary of the 1971 Convention on Wetlands, commonly referred to as the Ramsar Convention, is commemorated. The Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention has been organising the annual celebrations about wetlands with contracting parties of the convention marking the day since 1997 when it was first established. Marking World Wetlands Day is open to everyone, from international organisations, governments, education institutions, media, community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, youth and decision-makers.

Kenyatta University Green Education Hub (GEH) held a build-up event to this year’s World Wetlands Day on 27th January with the theme, Wetland Restoration. The event was also part of the Green Education Day (GED) series marked every last Friday of the month. The event brought together Hub’s researchers, ambassadors, 3Es Experience, Small Axe Environmental Group and Kenya Inter-University Environmental Students Association (KIUESA). Members of the Kenyatta University Environmental Club (KUNEC), Birding Club, KU Redcross Club, and Swahili Stadia, among other groups, also took part in the GED event.

The event began with an awareness session about the importance of wetlands at the Shopping Centre. The Hub’s ambassadors educated individuals at the university’s Shopping Centre about the Ramsar Convention and GEH’s activities. Students and university staff at the Shopping Centre were encouraged to adopt sustainable practices such as afforestation and proper waste management, which are vital in protecting wetlands. Thereafter, the participants held an awareness walk about the 2023 world’s celebrations on wetlands from the Shopping Centre to the university’s arboretum. During the walk, students and faculty members were educated on wetlands that exist in the country and upcoming World Wetlands Day celebrations in Kenya that will be marked at Enkongu Enkare in Narok County.

At the arboretum, the participants conducted a clean-up exercise. The clean-up exercise demonstrated to the participants and the university community practices they can carry out to restore wetlands. Most of the wetlands in the country are heavily contaminated with pollutants such as plastic waste, organic waste and heavy metals. Sustainable waste management practices ensure that wetlands and other ecosystems are not contaminated with pollutants. During the clean-up exercise, the participants were educated on waste management practices like sorting, recycling and reusing.

After the clean-up exercise, GEH researchers, student clubs, guests from Small Axe Environmental Group, and 3Es Experience gave talks on various wetland issues. Dr. Mutuma, a GEH researcher, encouraged students to join the Hub ambassadors’ efforts in environmental conservation and climate action. He informed participants that GEH is carrying out research on green education, environmental protection and climate action and aims to inform decision-makers on effective issues to prioritise during policy formulation and action. Mr. Justin, the Birding Club chairperson, pointed out that their club creates awareness about the value of ecosystems through bird watching. He noted that ecosystems such as wetlands serve as habitats, feeding and social interaction sites for various bird species. Ms. Brenda, KUNEC’s organising secretary, echoed the sentiments of the Birding Club chairperson by encouraging participants to restore wetlands within their locality to ensure the survival of endemic bird species and other flora and fauna that are threatened by extinction due to land use changes.

Mr. Kamanu, the founder of Small Axe Environmental Group, stated that they had successfully rehabilitated a section of Gatharaini River through clean-ups, bamboo planting and setting up a recreational park. He encouraged university students to use the theoretical experience to engage in practical activities such as rehabilitating rivers and wetlands in their communities. Mr. Kamanu retaliated that universities are education resource centres that can rely on their faculty and students to raise awareness about biodiversity conservation through community outreach services. Ms. Vivian, the founder of 3Es Experience, on her part explained that the organisation aligns its activities within three pillars, energy, environment and empowerment. The environment pillar involves creating awareness among the public on the importance of ecological conservation through responsible consumption and production. She noted that through the environment pillar, 3Es Experience engages in climate advocacy, reforestation of degraded lands and education on sustainable waste disposal. Ms. Vivian encouraged the participants to refer to the environment pillar to devise practical activities to protect wetlands and other vital ecosystems.



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