By Coast Times correspondent
Environmentalists in the Coast region have raised concerns over calls by locals for the government to lift the mangrove ban that was imposed in 2018 to curb environmental destruction.
Different organizations and companies investing in the planting and protecting of mangrove trees in Coast region said that the situation is worse as degradation in some areas is still happening.
Majoreni Beach Management unit chair Mwabikao Khatibu said that allowing mangrove harvest will be disastrous since they depend on the trees for carbon credit business.
“For us we are against any call to lift the mangrove ban because we are investing in planting and protecting mangrove for business purposes,” she said.
Already Mikoko Pamoja at Kinondo and Vanga blue forest community organization in Kwale County are benefiting from the conservation of mangrove forests.
Mombasa County was reported as one of the most affected with 80 per cent mangrove degradation followed by Kilifi and Tana River, a move that stakeholders have said cannot allow the government to lift the mangrove ban.
Kenya has about 1000 acres of mangrove land along the Coastal region with 8 percent of fish depending on the mangrove areas for breeding.
“Mangroves are used for preventing erosion and also a very important fish rearing area that requires everybody to protect them,” said Mwabikao.
Government officials have indicated that once the situation is reported improved stakeholders will be involved in the process of lifting the mangrove ban.
Base Titanium environmental superintendent Geoffrey Mwania said that they have continued to support groups in the region by distributing mangrove seedlings for planting as well as supporting them in conservation efforts.
“We cannot cut mangroves when we are working hard to plant them. We will continue to do our best as a company to support all initiatives towards conserving mangrove,” he said.
Kenya marine and fisheries research Institute research scientist Gladys Mwaka said that many mangrove areas are degraded and that is why they are working with different groups and governments to ensure mangroves are planted.
LungaLunga Deputy county commissioner Joseph Sawe said that the government ban on mangroves remains until improvement is recorded.
“When mangroves are ready for harvest, we will get experts to advise and give a go ahead to harvest but for now we continue planting and conserving,” he said.