The World Wetlands Day is celebrated on Feb. 2 worldwide, yearly to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands which are of International Importance, near the shores of the Caspian Sea in Ramsar, Iran in 1971. The day is used as one of the ways of to bring people together to learn more about urban and rural wetlands and their benefits. During these celebrations a lot of events usually lined up to mark the day when planning for the day, it is important to consider the following event; in Urban areas, people can take wetland field trip in and around a nearby wetland: people who have little knowledge on wetlands and the role they play can seize the opportunity and educate the people on the importance of conserving our wetlands and simplify the traditional myth that wetlands are good agricultural sites therefore should be dried up and occupied with agricultural activities . Most cities have a wetland, maybe even a Wetland of national or even International Importance (Ramsar Site). To find out the list of Ramsar Sites by country use this link www.ramsar.org/sites-countries/ the-ramsar-sites. Here are some of the reasons why it is important to conserve Wetlands. In a wetland, one enjoys, hiking, bird-watching, a swim or boat ride, Conference or a talk featuring wetland experts, local people make their living in wetlands by fetching clean drinking water harvesting trees for firewood, honey and using some plants for medicinal purposes . Wetlands provide many societal benefits: food and habitat for fish and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species; water quality improvement; flood storage; shoreline erosion control; economically beneficial natural products for human use; and opportunities for recreation, education, and research. The theme for this year's event is, "Wetlands Action for People and Nature." which highlights the importance of actions to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands for humans and planetary health.
During the event, various organizations were invited to sponsor the event and exhibit to present and showcase arts or photographs about wetlands. Run for wetlands, community walk, bike or Public wetland clean-up day. Press conference were held to make important announcements, interviews were conducted on various people from different fields to expound more on climate and wetland matters. Film viewing are bring people together to watch a film on wetlands, also the organizers organized a photos or essay competition on World Wetlands Day. In Kenya, the day was marked in various places and through various environmental activities like cleanup towns where the celebrations were being held unblocking of drainage channels and garbage collection, wetlands art competitions, cleaning up of polluted rivers, tree planting in the wetlands especially the indigenous trees which conserve the water and allows water to infiltrate and recharge underground reservoirs and Wetland Conservation Run - 29th January 2022. All these activities are aimed at creating public environmental awareness especially in environmental conservation and preservation.
Various organizations including the Kenya Forestry service (KFS) Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) World Wide Fund (WWF) Kiambu Water and Sewerage Company, universities like the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University, various secondary schools like Alliance Boys and Girls and primary Schools and many others graced the occasion and sang beautiful songs to mark the event. To promote World Wetlands Day and the theme on wetlands various media houses were invited to grace the occasion and news were posted on several websites, on social media platforms, in newsletters or bulletin boards etc. various companies used posters and distribution of hand-outs, provided cakes, food staffs like Milk bread which were issued free to the participants. Various companies came with their own materials such as branded T-shirts, caps, banners, posters and even demonstration machines to market their product and people were given an opportunity to s walk through and sample out various items.
Kenyatta University was represented by 120 students which mainly came from the School of Environmental Studies through Kenyatta Environmental Club (KUNEC) and other students drawn from various disciplines from other Schools who have a great passion for our environment. The students fully participated in the event starting from the tree planting at the Ondiri Swamp with the other invited guests and the celebrations which took part at the Alliance Boys Rugby pitch. The event ended at 2.30 p.m. and the students headed back to the Ondiri swamp to learn more of the wetland. The learning was done at the NEMA camp site and was conducted by a volunteer of Friends for Ondiri. Later the students had a wonderful photo session at the swamp and even a walk through and across the unstable swamp, dancing when one steps on the surface. Ondiri Swamp is the source Athi River which is the second biggest River after Tana in Kenya
A photo showing students crossing the Ondiri Swamp in Kikuyu
Aphoto of students looking at water coming out from underground which flows downstream Athi River.
After the event the students thanked the organizers of the event by Kenya Wildlife Service officials (KWS) the Kenya Forestry service (KFS) Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) World Wide Fund (WWF) Kiambu Water and Sewerage Company and many others for giving them the opportunity to be part of celebrations and joining the rest of participants globally. They thanked the University for giving them the opportunity to grace the event. The event ended at 5pm and the students headed back to the University.
Dean School of Environmental Studies
School Administrative Assistant
KUNEC Officials/ members