Target: REWE Group, Kenyan Government
Goal: Commend creative and sustainable plan to help preserve Lake Naivasha and the surrounding ecosystem
Floating plastic islands and papyrus—these hardly sound like the next innovation in environmental preservation. However, this combination may save one of the most important lakes in Kenya. The REWE Group is funding a plan to help restore and maintain the Lake Naivasha basin in Kenya. The group, as a part of a partnership with UK-owned tea producer and flower grower Finlays, is looking to utilize the natural cleansing properties of papyrus, a plant native to the area, to help decontaminate the lake’s water.
The population of Kenya, and the area surrounding the Lake Naivasha basin in particular, has grown exponentially in recent years. This uncapped population growth around the lake’s area has led to a drastic decrease in papyrus, along with the deterioration of Lake Naivasha’s water quality. Papyrus is a key plant in the area given its natural propensity to decontaminate water. This innovative plan will create plastic floating islands made of post-consumer plastic, equipped with papyrus plants as an attempt to restore balance to the basin and maintain the viability of local ecosystems.
According to a press release by the University of Leicester, papyrus is just one of the initiatives being implemented in the Lake Naivasha region with the goal of reversing and halting future environmental degradation in the region. Specifically, the plastic islands will be harnessed in the mouth of the river, where it will trap silt before it can reach the main lake area. The roots of the papyrus plants also act as feeding and mating grounds for many native species of fish. The increased presence of the plant will prove beneficial to the Naivasha ecosystem in a holistic sense.
A proponent of the papyrus project, Dr. David Harper—Senior Lecturer at the University of Leicester—summarized the situation saying, “Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake of around 100km2, and although once crystal clear and surrounded by papyrus, it has suffered badly in the past 30 years. A major factor is that Naivasha has been the fastest growing town in Kenya as a result of the bonanza of horticulture, cut flowers for export, which is now one of Kenya’s top three earners of foreign exchange.”
Dr. Harper continued, “As job opportunities have grown, the human population has grow more than twenty-fold, and settlements have sprung up in a haphazard fashion, clearing papyrus. In the same 30 year period, the population of buffalo native to the lake has trebled, knocking down papyrus to eat it.”
This imaginative project is a positive step forward in environmental preservation. The kind of innovation displayed here ought to be commended. Sign below to encourage this project and others like it.
Dear REWE Group and Kenyan Government Officials,
The “papyrus project” in the Lake Naivasha region of Kenya is a brilliant and innovative approach to preserving the environmental integrity of the lake and basin.
This type of innovation is exactly the type of approach that we need to collectively take in order to further environmental causes, promote sustainability and halt ecological degradation.
I commend the REWE Group for agreeing to fund this project, and the Kenyan Government for having the foresight to make this project a priority.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Profitero Blog