Kenya conservation news – NEMA stops mangrove forest destruction

NEMA KENYA STEPS IN TO SAVE MANGROVE FOREST

Developers of a planned top end residential estate along the shores of the Kilifi creek north of Mombasa were told in no uncertain terms that there will be NO development approved if it involves – as presently planned – to clear an extensive swathe of mangrove forest.

Inspectors of NEMA Kenya, alerted to the developers’ plans to cut down mangroves, swooped in on to the project site and halted all work, before serving the developers with a formal stop notice. Beach conservation groups had joined hands with the local fisheries department staff and the beach management unit to petition NEMA for immediate action to prevent any damage being inflicted on the mangrove forest. Information received from Mombasa talks of up to 3 acres of mangroves the developers wanted to cut, which is in violation of laws and regulations and could have ended up the promoters of the project in court, where however fines and sentences are far too lenient to deter offenders. The same source also claimed that the removal of the mangroves and ‘insertion of sand’ would have added tremendous value to the up market estate project, where a ‘sandy beach would make all the difference to sell it at a premium and reap huge profits’. The same source also attributed the assistance from the fisheries department on their fear that their own access to the beach would be tampered with by the developers with a long legal struggle ahead and felt that a unified appeal at this stage would have greater chance of success than having to reclaim their rights at a later stage.

Well done here, bouquets to NEMA Kenya for their initiative and action – and maybe NEMA Uganda can learn a thing or two, as they more often than not stand idle by while the wanton destruction of wetlands in and around the city continues unabated.

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