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Third World countries: a dilemma for equitable habitats and environmental resources Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Erick Ochieng Otieno, Kenya Oct 2, 2006
Environment   Opinions


As the world commemorates the world habitat day, many third world countries are in dire dilemma on how to proceed with creating a better habitat for their citizens and at the same time conserving the vital environmental resources needed for the citizens survival.

My country, Kenya, is one such country. The environmental resource in question is the Mau Forest. A lot has been said about balancing between creating settlements for the people around Mau Forest while at the same time conserving the forest and its rich biodiversity. However, no viable solution has been found so far.

May people have opted to settle in the forest and are deeply moving into it in search for settlement. Others are, with equal zeal, cutting down trees to clear land for cultivation. These activities have created more problems than to solve any. As a result, the hydro logic cycle has tremendously been interfered with and once vibrant Mau Forest that was rich in indigenous tree species and also animal species is fast moving towards been classified as a dessert. A real picture can be seen in the reduction of water levels of river Njoro which is one of the major tributary of Lake Nakuru. This has lead to many disasters such as death of the most important species in the Lake "The LESSER FLAMINGOES". These are the major tourist attraction for Kenya's economy and the highest foreign excahnge earner. A recent event that led to the death of thousands of these flamingo species highlights this issue. Other victims have been the one of the most prestigious institution in Kenya, "Egerton University" and the community around it. This is because water resources have been dwindling over recent past due to low water table. This could be attributed to the reduction of the ground water recharge capacity due to the cutting down of trees. The list may be endless, and if nothing is done promptly, then the main aim of having habitats will be rendered useless. Why am I saying this? This can be answered through this question, "Why must we have a place to live comfortably with out water to use?".

Therefore, my conclusion is that first we must take care of where we will get the water resources before thinking of where we will stay. After that, then we can look for other lands to create our habitats with any worries of our water resources. This means that most third world countries need to reduce their Land policies to preserve the water catchments even as they create habitats for its citizens. The people involved in one way or another should also be well informed of the benefits of having a secure water resource for the future so that they can chose wisely between the two fundamental issues. This calls for Stakeholder participation. It is then and only then, that I believe that as we celebrate the World Habitat day, the environmental conservationists will not be mourning the degradation of the environment.



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Erick Ochieng Otieno

I was a student from Egerton University. I pursued a course leading to a BSc in Applied Aquatic Sciences. I believe that through writing, one can relieve a lot from the heart. Inspiration came from hearing and reading. Whoever said that you have to be an old one to communicate issues of policies, did not consider that even a newborn communicates through its own way, "crying". I would like to communicate to the world all my thoughts; However minor they are, I believe they will go a great length to straighten or strengthen a policy or two somewhere and I shall have contributed to the well being of the world. How noble that is, it is for my worthy readers to let me know. So what do you think? Tell me anytime. Bye and have a nice reading.
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