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My Future

Begins Now!

“Environment in children’s eyes”

UNEP’s Regional Office of Africa (ROA) would like to thank The Safaricom Foundation for their
financial support towards this publication. In its quest to encourage the practice of sustainable
development in Kenya, the Safaricom Foundation is committed to working hand in hand with
affected communities to find practical solutions for their environmental concerns and by so doing,
ensuring the future for generations to come.

We would also like to appreciate our successful partnership with The Kenya Organization of
Environmental Organization for their continuous support in creating environmental awareness
amongst children and youth. UNEP- ROA in collaboration with KOEE has successfully organized the
annual national World Environment Day Competition whose response has continually risen over the
past four years.

2 Thanks to all the sponsors who have supported this competition in the past. The success of this
initiative has in no small way been as a result of your invaluable contribution. It is always encouraging
to see the private sector taking an ever-increasing interest towards the resolution of environmental
issues in the country.

Finally, many thanks go to the school communities around Kenya who have participated in the World
Environment Day competition. The children’s voices through their essays, artwork and photographs
demonstrate their urgent call for a change in our environmental practices in order to protect our
region’s natural resources and secure their well being for their generation and generations to come.
Indeed, their future begins now!
TABLE OF Contents
Acknowledgements ....................................................................................................2
UNEP Foreword .........................................................................................................4
“Taking action –Safe Earth’’.......................................................................................6
Chapter 1 2006: DESERTS AND DESERTIFICATION: ........................................ 10
Chapter 2: GREEN CITIES: Plant For The Planet ....................................... 32
Chapter 3: WANTED: Seas And Oceans – Dead Or Alive? ........................56
Chapter 4: WATER – Two Billion People Are Dying For It .......................78
Chapter 5: MELTING ICE.............................................................................110
Annex........................................................................................................................118 3
UNEP Foreword
Bright and dedicated young people are a force capable of great change. The United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) recognizes the critical role young people can and must play in addressing
environmental issues. We are all aware that young people are often the driving- force behind eco-friendly
living. Frequently, their voices are heard in protest against the seeming complacency of their elders.

Under an overall concept entitled “Tunza”, UNEP has developed a strategy to involve Young people
in issues pertaining to the environment. This initiative is meant to develop activities in the areas of
capacity building, environmental awareness and information exchange. Its objective is to create a
global movement in which children and youth worldwide will actively participate in environmental
activities. The strategy seeks to enhance, inspire and enable the involvement of children and youth
in sustainable development. The vision is to foster a generation of environmentally conscious citizens
who will better influence decision-making processes and act responsibly to create a sustainable world.

4 UNEP started its work with young people in 1985, which was designated International Youth Year.
Since then, it has developed several global and regional initiatives, activities and networks. UNEP
has held regular conferences for young people and promoted environmental awareness through
competitions, recognition and partnerships with international, regional and national organizations
working with young people. UNEP has also involved young people in its Governing Council sessions
and in the development of regional and global environmental reports. UNEP also supports activities
of children and youth in school and universities.

The main challenge for UNEP’s work with young people is to overcome the lack of environmental
awareness among them.

In order to address this challenge, UNEP’s Regional Office for Africa together with Kenya Organization
of Environmental Education has since 2003, organized an Essay, Artwork and Photographic competition
among young people in Kenya in the context of the annual World Environment Day celebrations. The
competition has given a chance to young Kenyans to communicate their feelings about the impacts of
human activities on their immediate environment.
The aim of the competition is to raise environmental awareness among young people and create a
better understanding of the impacts of human activities on the environment. It builds on partnerships
with schools and community organisations to spread environmental awareness and good practices
in caring for our environment. At the same time, it is consistent with UNEP’s strategy to train future
leaders in dealing with environmental issues and to educate them about sustainable development.

While environmental degradation has severe consequences for all human beings, it particularly
affects the most vulnerable sectors of society, mainly children. The competition therefore seeks to
stimulate environmental action by young people. It is often at the level of their communities and
neighbourhoods that young people are making a real impact, improving people’s quality of life and
influencing their peers and parents to live and work in a more sustainable way.

The good news is that increasingly, young people are getting more informed and aware than ever
before about the environmental challenges facing their communities. Beyond this, they also feel
a sense of responsibility about these problems and are prepared to take action to address them.
This colourful publication combines text and illustrations to address environmental issues from the
young people’s perspective.

I hope that the illustrations and stories contained in this publication will inspire more young people
in Kenya and the rest of Africa to get involved in environmental action.

Sekou Toure
Director, Regional Office for Africa, UNEP
“Taking action –Safe Earth’’
Fostering positive attitudes towards environmental development and conservation is pertinent for
the youth to appreciate the need for a healthy environment”.

Kenya’s economy and the livelihoods of her people are dependent on natural resources, which
are increasingly under pressure from unsustainable use resulting in environmental degradation.
The challenge is to utilise the natural resources to develop the economy while at the same time
saving the environment from adverse impacts of pollution, soil erosion, deforestation and general

The Environmental management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA) of 1999 underscores the right of
every person in Kenya to a clean and healthy environment and commits all Kenyans to safeguard
6 and enhance it. The act provides for education and awareness on the importance of sustainable use
of the environment and natural resources for national development . Improved understanding of
environmental issues is key for informed actions on the environment.
The Eco-schools programme has since 2002 been implemented by the Kenyan Organisation for
Environmental Education (KOEE) in partnership with the Danish Outdoor Council and with the
financial support of Danida. UNEP has been instrumental in providing technical advice to the
program which aims at achieving sustainable environmental management at the local level through
schools. The challenge for KOEE’s work with schools has been to promote action learning. Using
schools as spring-boards for reaching communities, the programme offers a flexible way of supporting
environmental education processes at school level through integrating development experiences
with classroom studies and applying certain principles and guidelines to the day-to-day running
of schools. In this way the Eco-Schools programme assists in solving real/ existing environmental
problems while planning in advance to prevent future advent of adverse environmental impacts.

The Eco-schools programme reflects the key focus areas of ESD: The promotion and improvement of
quality of education; Re-orienting existing education systems at all levels to address local community
environmental problems through localising the curriculum with schools as entry points; Development
of public understanding and awareness of sustainability through sensitisation activities; Training
of trainers in Education for Sustainable Development, i.e. training in micro-projects establishment,
localising curriculum, learning resource development etc. In due process, eco-schools engages
multiple stakeholders to participate in educational activities including government, civil society and
private sector particularly in the establishment of micro projects. Schools that successfully undergo
the eco-schools program graduate and receive a green flag. The Award provides motivation and
recognition for quality learning and school improvement. This year about Eighty eco schools from
all over Kenya will graduate.
In line with World Environment day celebrations, the Kenya Organization for Environmental
Education (KOEE) has always teamed up with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),
through its Regional Office for Africa (ROA), to organize an essay/art/photography competition
on a range of environmental challenges. The purpose of the World Environment Day is to focus
worldwide attention to the importance of the environment and stimulate political attention.

The WED is a contribution to the promotion of Environmental Education in Kenya and therefore
complements the eco-school programme. It provides the youth opportunities to develop the
awareness and acquire knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and competences required to take full
advantage of the environment. It also builds the capacity among the youth by promoting active
participation in environmental management . More so WED helps to tailor education to address the
contemporary environmental challenges experienced by schools and communities to enable learners
and communities to develop a shared vision of addressing natural resources management threats.

Despite the recognition of the importance or environmental education, there is lack of adequate
materials to promote it. The eco-schools programme has developed a number of materials including
Eco-Schools Handbook, Learners Theme Packs for Primary (upper primary) and Secondary schools
: on six issues namely: Water, Energy, Health, Agriculture, Biodiversity and Waste., Teachers’
8 Environmental Education Guides for primary and Secondary schools and A Training Module on
Environmental Education.
The materials have been developed through participatory processes involving local Kenyan teachers
and pupils as well as senior specialists from Kenyan Institute of Education, NEMA and other
institutions. The materials have been designed so that they can be flexibly adapted according to the
local issues and contexts in the different regions of Kenya.

This booklet “Environment in children’s eyes” will go a long way in addressing the deficit. The good
news about this booklet is that it has been developed by learners themselves. This approach in
material development is likely to empower learners to take action in conserving the environment.
They will develop the attitude that their knowledge is valued and that they can do something about
their own environment- beginning now and into the future.

Dr. Dorcas Beryl Otieno

Executive Director, Kenya Organization for Environmental Education
Chairperson, NEMA
10 Chapter 1
2006: Deserts and

Victor Omondi, Ogada Sec School

Don’t Desert Drylands!
Everywhere in the world, countries are faced with uncontrollable problems that will greatly affect their
futures. In the continent of Africa, many countries are faced with the problem of spreading deserts, called
desertification. This problem has many causes but few solutions and could soon lead to a greater area of
dry and arid land than fertile farmlands and rangelands. Africa contains one-fifth of the world’s surface
and has some of the world’s largest physical features, including deserts. The Sahara, which is located in
the northern part of Africa, is the largest desert in the world. It also happens to be one of many deserts
that are getting larger every year because of desertification. Desertification can be defined as increasing
desert-like conditions in arid and semi-arid lands. This problem has so many causes that it is said to be

Climate, humans, and livestock are the main causes of the spreading deserts in Africa. Climate,
however, is the main reason that this problem is so hard to control. Prolonged drought can leave land
dried out and infertile which makes it just about impossible for any type of vegetation to survive.
Because humans play no part in this, it is obviously the hardest for us to control. The climate’s roll
12 in desertification also leads to the problem of livestock. When droughts leave the land dry with
no trees or grasses, those who raise animals must find other places for their livestock to graze.
And now that it’s harder for grasses to grow back, it is easier for overgrazing to occur. Thus, the
combination of Africa’s low rainfall and involvement with grazing helps lead land dry and destroyed
by overcultivation.

Humans are a cause of desertification for many reasons. Development and overpopulation are two.
Cities need to grow to support their population and to do so, trees will be cut down and replaced with
construction sites. A growing population also requires a growing economy, therefore rangelands
will be replaced with croplands, and the destruction of fertile land will continue. Meanwhile, as the
population continues to grow, there will be more and more need for reasons to overcultivate and
overgraze in order to feed mouths. The best that can be done by humans alone is to spread global
awareness of the problem. If people can learn from the mistakes of others, maybe desertification can
be prevented from occurring anywhere else in the world. Governments (mainly ones of countries
that have fallen victim to the spreading deserts), along with UN agencies and many Sub-regional
organizations, have taken part in this worldwide alert through the media.

Throughout its existence, UNEP has emphasized the importance of preventing and reversing land
degradation. It played an integral role in establishing the UN Convention to Combat Desertification
and is working alongside partners such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN
Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility, to implement it. UNEP has also
gathered a comprehensive collection of success stories in the struggle against desertification in
Africa which together demonstrate that appropriate, replicable technological and policy solutions
exist to address the challenges of the drylands.

The degradation of drylands is a global problem, but it is perhaps most acute in Africa, the least
developed region of the world and the most vulnerable to environmental change. The degradation
of drylands is a growing problem that needs imaginative, collaborative and multi-sectoral action.
It is both a result of and a contributor to climate change; it is both the cause and the consequence
of poverty. If left unchecked it threatens the future food security of humanity’s steadily growing
population and the stability of communities and countries in all regions. Therefore, on World
Environment Day, 2006, UNEP’s message to the world was ‘Don’t Desert Drylands!
The sun ascended and blazed across the hills that were once covered with a rich variety of forests.
This land is now nude because the wonderful trees, which were once the homes to millions of species,
are all gone. The trees that once flourished over this land are disappeared and turned to sheets of

Deserts and dry lands are soon going to take over our beautiful world as we continue depleting our
existing resources at a rate that nature cannot cope with. As mankind continues to increase their
ecological footprint, nature shall take its toll at a time that may be very inconvenient for our own

A third of the earth’s land surface (four billion hectares) is threatened by desertification, and over two
hundred and fifty million people are directly affected by desertification. Twenty four billion tons of
fertile soil disappears annually. From the year nineteen ninety-one (1991) to the year two thousand
(2000) alone, droughts have been responsible for over three hundred thousand (300,00) deaths.

Human activities leading to desertification are mainly related to agriculture, these include;
• Overgrazing which removes the vegetation cover that protects land surface from erosion.
• Over cultivation which exhausts the soil fertility and structure.
14 • Deforestation, which destroys the tress that bind the land to the soil. Wood is the principle source
of domestic energy for lighting and cooking in many arid areas.
• Poor irrigation practices raise salinity and sometimes dry the rivers that feed
large lakes: the Aral Sea and lake Chad have shrunk dramatically in this way.

The intensification of human activities brings an increased greenhouse effect, causing global
warming. Dry lands are likely to be especially vulnerable to rises of temperatures during the twenty
first century. The main effect of deserts and desertification is that it reduces the ability of land to
support life, affecting wild species, domestic animals, agricultural crops and people. The reduction in
plant cover that accompanies desertification leads to accelerated soil erosion by wind and water. As
vegetation cover and soil layer are reduced, rain drop impact and run-off increases.

Water is lost off the land instead of soaking into the soil to provide moisture for plants. Even plants
that would normally survive droughts die. A reduction in plant cover also results in a reduction in
quantity of humus and plant nutrients in the soil, and plant production drops further. As protective
plants cover disappears, floods become more frequent and more severe. Desertification is self-
reinforcing, that means once the process has started; conditions are set for continual deterioration.

We can act against desertification in the following ways.

1. Restore and fertilize the land

A simple and cheap way to fertilize the land is to prepare compost, which will become humus
and will regenerate the soil with organic matter.

2. Combat the effects of the wind

By constructing barriers and stabilizing sandunes with local plants that can hold the soil.

3. Reforestation
Trees play several roles: they fix the soil, act as windbreakers, enhance soil fertility, and help
absorb water during heavy rainfall. Because the burning of land and forests increases dangerous
greenhouse gases, afforestation - planting of trees where they did not initially exist- can help
reduce the negative impacts of resulting climate change.

4. Develop sustainable agricultural practices

Dry lands are home to large variety of species, which can also become important commercial
products and biological diversity that need to be preserved. Leaving the soil ‘breathe’ during
certain-time periods, with no cultivation and grazing shall stop Land overexploitation.

5. Traditional lifestyles
Traditional lifestyles as practiced in many arid areas offer example of harmonious living with the
environment. In the past, nomadism was particularly adapted to dry lands conditions; moving
from one water hole to another, never staying on the same piece of land; Pastrolists did not
exert much pressure on the environment. However changing lifestyles and population growth
are putting increased pressure on scarce resources and vulnerable environments.
Norbert Weiner once said “The more we get out of the world the less we leave, and in the long run
we shall have to pay our debts at a time that may be very inconvenient for our own survival”. This
is the reason why we have to conserve our environment now so that we don’t regret that we did
not make mankind know that there was still time to keep our children away from disaster! We must
cherish earth and not destroy her for she is life.



Jay Pradeep Shah, Oshwal High School


Chandi Mansukh, Oshwal High School

Dry lands are also called arid and semi arid areas. They are areas that receive low rainfall and have
high temperatures. Water is very scarce in these areas.

In Kenya dry lands cover mostly North Eastern province and part of the Rift Valley such as Turkana.
Most people do not like settling in dry lands but majority of those who settle there are nomads. These are
normally Pastoralists who move from place to place with their animals looking for pasture and water for
their animals to graze and drink. Due to the harsh climatic conditions, there are few economic activities
in the dry lands.

Dry lands should not be deserted but the conditions in these areas should be improved to attract
people to settle there. One way of improving the condition is by providing water in these areas. This
can be done by sinking boreholes and building wells. The water can then be used for domestic use,
livestock drinking and irrigation. Irrigation will help to grow various crops such as vegetables and
fruits, which can do well in hot places. An example of this is the Pekerra irrigation scheme where we
visited and saw the growing of sweet fruits such as watermelon, paw-paw and lemons. They also
grow onions and tomatoes.

The government should also make good roads between dry lands and wetlands. This will encourage
18 economic activities such as trade and development of industries such as those dealing with sand
harvesting. This will make people to settle in these areas because of jobs made available.

More money should be allocated to these areas by the government to help in building schools,
hospitals and offices and starting of major projects to help people in these areas and these will attract
other people to go to dry lands.

Dry lands are not wastelands; they are good vital lands, which can be put to use by the country. We
should all join hands to do our best to make use of these dry lands.

Esther Wanjiru, Lions Primary School


Chandni Shah, Peponi School

A desert is an arid area of sparse vegetation, receives low rainfall of less than 250 mm annually and
is covered with sand. Desertification is the process of enlarging or changing an area that originally
was not a desert into a desert. In Africa, we have deserts such as Kalahari, Sahara, Namib in Namibia
and Chalbi. In other areas of the world we have the Gobi deserts in Asia, Greenland and Antarctica
and Pentagonian in South America.

There are two types of deserts, these are hot and cold deserts. Those found in the tropics are hot
and those in the temperate and polar areas are cold deserts. Others are named depending on the
appearance of their surfaces such as sandy deserts, stony and rock deserts.

Desertification is mainly caused by man’s activities and some land farming processes that occur
on the earth as it continues to change. The cutting down of tress leaving large areas bare causes
acceleration and growth of deserts. This is because the trees help attracting rain. So when they are
cut, the rain disappears and but during rainy season, when the rain is heavy, it occurs in torrents for
a short time causing massive soil erosion to the bare land surface.

Other causes of desertification are overstocking in these areas, which leads to breaking of rocky
surfaces to smaller particles, which make it easier for the soil to be carried away through wind and
20 water erosion.

The few people who live in dry land areas experience problems such as sand storms, attacks by wild
animals and high day temperatures. However the land though unproductive can be made useful
through various means.

We can plant dry resistant crops such as cassava, coconuts, and groundnuts among others that can
survive in the dry conditions and serve as food to the people in these areas.
Irrigation can also be another solution in these dry areas. Irrigation being the artificial application
of water to the soil for the purposes of supplying sufficient moisture to the crops will enable people
to plant some crops and water their animals hence reduce dependence on relief food donations.
Irrigation, majorly surface irrigation can also be key to land reclamation, which can allow small scale
and large-scale farming.

More policies and regulations need to be enacted and enforced to reduce cutting of trees in the arid
areas. Through these and other methods we believe the problem of desertification will be done away
with. So lets fight for a serene environment and follow programs put forward by UNEP and other
organizations around the world.

Jaica Allan, Chavakali High School


Yogesh Patel, Kisumu Senior Academy

A desert is a hot and dry place. Examples of deserts include Sahara, Arabian and Nubian deserts. In
a desert we can only get water in a place called an oasis. The animal that commonly survives in a
desert for a long time is a camel while the main tree is the cactus. People make our country a desert
by cutting down trees without planting others. They also burn forests instead of preserving them.
If people burn up the forests, the wild animals will have no habitats to live in. The herbivorous will
have no grass or leaves to eat so they will die of hunger. Slowly by slowly animals and plants will
die because of no food. Some people will migrate to other places looking for food. Others without
money to will stay in their dry areas without food and water and so they will die.

This will affect wildlife, vegetation and the economy. Our lakes, dams, wells and swamps will dry up too.
No tourists will visit our country because all wild animals will be dead while other animals will migrate
to other greener areas. This will affect the government because it will not have foreign exchange from
tourism. The marine life will also die for example fish in lakes in the dry areas such as lake Turkana.

We can change our country from being a desert by planting more trees and reducing the number of
animals that destroy the land. We can irrigate the land to prevent our country being a desert. People
can also practise afforestation.

If you cut one tree for firewood, then grow two instead of one. People are supposed to plant more
trees especially where the land is bare and put some wild animals there after. Dams and wells should
also be dug to enable people to draw water for domestic use and for animals such as the cows, goats,
sheep, donkey and camels to drink. This can be important especially during water shortages because
the people can get milk, hides and skins and meat from these animals and reduce the food shortages
in the dry lands. The animals such as the donkeys and the camels can be used for transport and the
trees grown will attract rain in the dry lands and hence people can get firewood and plant crops. So
people should not abandon dry lands but instead improve them.

Sarah Sheikh, Muslim Girls Primary School


Hena Shah, Nairobi Academy

The earth’s surface is constantly changing. Mountains are worn flat, deep canyons are carved, and
fertile lands are losing their richness. Desertification means extension of deserts into semi arid and or
dry lands. The process is linked to lack of rainfall and careless land utilization. The cutting edge of the
problem is that the degradation (desertification) occurs in areas where rainfall is usually sufficient to
support at least a sparse vegetation cover. Desertification is a product of a series of complex interaction
between the subsistence agriculture and social structures of people inhibiting semi-arid zones.

Nomadic herding and overgrazing is one of the main factors turning dry lands into deserts. Sheep
and goats not only eat the top grass but often pull up the roots as well. Slash and burn agriculture,
clearing land by cutting and burning and monoculture (the same crop) has led to soil becoming
very poor in many dry regions. The government’s efforts to sedentarise the nomads in kurdofan
and Durfur (Sudan) have led to growing human and livestock population. This causes overgrazing,
indiscriminate cutting of all woody plants for fuel, the suppression of regrowth and a further reduction
in vegetation cover. Acacia trees, which produce gum arabic, a cash crop, decreased in number due to
browsing and cutting. The loss of ground vegetation and tree cover allows wind erosion, which then
blows over cultivated areas and inhibits replanting efforts. Within two kilometers of water holes,
very little vegetation is normally left.

Wind and water can carry particles of earth to great distances. If there are no grasses to protect the
land, wind may pick up tons of dry, dusty soil. This can rob dry lands of fertile soil. With time, the
areas may become almost deserts.

Over cultivation (blooming the dry land) of fragile marginal lands makes them to loose fertility.
Many successful attempts have been made to stop deserts from spreading. One is planting forest
belts around the forest edge. It has been carried out to rehabilitate degraded semi-arid zones and
savannahs. Professor Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace prizewinner has been helped by women to
plant traditional trees in Turkana.

Some of the benefits of tree planting are reduction of wind erosion, increased fuel-wood supplies,
stabilization of sand dunes and improvement of soil properties. Trees can have a significant impact
on rainfall, run-off patterns and soil moisture content and thus decreasing local aridity. Grasses and
trees like acacia, eucalyptus and pines whose roots bind soil can be a great help in the dry lands. Fruit
trees root to a depth of three feet and can stabilize soil against erosion. Grass stabilizes sand dunes and
prevents their spreading. Roots can spread to forty-three feet and new shoots grow.
Shifting sand threaten productive land. To cure this, we can use measures such as barriers, vegetative
cover, mats, and mulches to provide humus. Sewage sludge, hog slurry or peat may be used to
increase the fertility of soil. Heavy dewfall in dry areas may be collected in specially coated dugouts
and used for irrigation. Wadi Hadramawt in Yemen is a seasonal watercourse in a desert region.
With a system of irrigation and water conservation using subterranean water and little rainfall,
the farmers have been able to grow 15,000 acres of date palms, cereals, fruits trees and vegetables.
Polythene also helps to retain the moisture in the earth around the roots of the plants. The rate of
evaporation is thus low. By building a bank around the foot of each plant, water can be prevented
from running off and washing away nutrients.

It is also essential to maintain the human population and their grazing herds to a level below the
long-term carrying capacity of the environment. This cannot be done by ecologists or United Nations,
but by the local people and policy makers.

In the olden days, the Nabatians inhabitants of Petra skillfully channeled the winter rains to their
small farms by making huge network of small reservoirs, dykes and cisterns. Drip irrigation can thus
be one of the main irrigation methods since it saves close to ninety-five percent of the water in
dry lands. Choosing crops like millet and sorghum to suit a dry climate is effective. In Zaire, people
26 practice shifting agriculture. It involves clearing forest, practicing crop rotation till the fertility
declines and replanting the forest.

Never force the dry lands to bloom. Rather than short-sightedly exploiting the dry lands and its
resources, we need to cultivate and take care of its vulnerability like a baby.



Avron Dhillion, Melvin Jones Academy

Zaitun Ayan Ahmed, Wajir Girls High School

Desertification is the process by which desert-like conditions encroach onto a productive land. Desertification
is affecting human, plant and animal life and is leading to drastic and unfathomable results.

In most countries today, desertification is becoming a major emerging issue and this is calling for
immediate attention. Desertification is destroying the dwellings of animals, plants and man.

Desertification is being caused mainly by human activities, which can be controlled by taking various
measures. The major cause of desertification today is the felling of trees for timber, charcoal, or for
settlement among other uses. Cutting of trees leaves the soil bare, thus prone to soil erosion, which
then slowly develops to a desert.

Overgrazing is also contributing to desertification. Especially where cattle are reared in large numbers
thus exceeding the carrying capacity of the land, leading to rapid soil erosion, this mainly occurs in
countries where pastoralism is highly practiced especially in Northern Africa.

There are various possible solutions, which can be undertaken to curb desertification. The most
important is creation of awareness to all people in the world about this emerging issue and measures
on how to curb the aggravating process; this can be done by use of posters, magazines, the media
28 and learning institutions.

Moreover, governments should enforce laws against deforestation and pollution. Gabions and
terraces should be built to reduce the rate of soil erosion.

More research and development institutions should be established to link different countries, examples
of existing ones such as UNEP, which is working closely with many nations at present, to conserve and
protect the environment should be encouraged. World Metrological Department whose theme this
year was “preventing and mitigating natural disasters” is really striving to fight desertification. More
of these institutions should lead to a stronger force to control desertification.

Desertification is causing unfathomable effects. It is constantly leading to poverty in many nations,

especially in Africa where poverty is expected to continue for the next 100 years if measures are not
undertaken immediately.
It is time we got our senses right and stopped aggravating our already bad situation, it’s time we
walk hand in hand and animate our dying lands by comprehensively curbing this slow process killer;
it’s time to make a difference for a better tomorrow; it’s time to clearly build our dreams and refresh
our visions. It is it’s time to stop deserting dry lands.

Roselyne Makena, Kenya High School


Akshar Patel, Kisumu Senior Academy

A desert is an area that is isolated with no vegetation because the rainfall experienced in those areas is very
little and sometimes there is no rainfall at all. The only plant that is found there is the cactus plant which
requires very little water for its survival. Some areas are also known as semi-arid areas where the weather
and vegetation is much better than deserts. However, in both cases, the hot weather is unbearable.

In some areas, there are neither trees planted nor are the trees there but they are not deserts, there might
be enough rainfall but nobody is willing to plant trees. If the place goes on without trees, there will be less
rainfall experienced hence the weather will be very hot and the process of making an area to be a desert is
called desertification. This occurs in areas where there are less people living or working there, but still there
are some people who are willing to maintain the area. This is a good moral that can help the society when
people buy such a land and plant crops or even construct some buildings on them. Desertification can be
overcome by the government or by good samaritans.

Deserts have affected a lot of people in the world. In Kenya, this happens only on some North Eastern parts
where people die of hunger since there is no food, no water and there is a harsh weather condition. Lack
of food and water does not affect only people but also animals, which are in the desert areas. Most of the
animals die of starvation. Some people and cattle are still surviving with difficulties.

30 Since some people and the government are willing to help the unfortunate people in the deserts, the
government has been sending the poor people some food which has created employment for the people
transporting the food such as drivers and the people serving or distributing food to the needy ones who are
suffering in the drought. There are also trees, which are planted in those areas so as to help the ones who
will be starving in future.

When the people of the North Eastern parts starve to death, there is reduction in Kenya’s population since
a lot of people die. The number of cattle is also reduced because most of the cattle including cows die. This
eventually reduces the economic growth of the country since meat and milk production reduces.

Since all people from the desert areas are from the rural centres, this increases the growth of rural centres
and it really drags back the country economically. When desertification occurs in a certain area, there is a
big growth of rural centres which results to the government experiencing some financial expenditure to get
the areas in their normal state and since the government may not be able to afford all these expenses, it has
to rely on a certain or other countries for financial assistance.
This really pulls back the country and most people forget that a ‘stitch in time saves nine’ which
means it is better to deal with something immediately because if you wait it may become worse or
more difficult and cause extra work.

Desertification can be avoided by the planting of trees in various areas so as to attract rainfall and
act as windbreakers.

Thabit Hussein, Malezi Secondary School


Krupali. A. Patel, Kisumu Junior Academy

32 Chapter 2
Green Cities: Plant For
The Planet

Madhav Nitin Gajjar, Oshwal High School

The World Environment Day theme selected for 2005 is Green Cities and the slogan is Plan for
the Planet! The theme for this year’s observance of World Environment Day, “Green Cities:
Plan for the Planet!” highlights the challenges raised by one of the major trends of our times:
the rapidly increasing proportion of people who are living in urban environments.

In 1950 less than one person in three lived in a town or city. Today nearly half the world’s
population is urban. By 2030 the proportion will be more than 60 per cent. Virtually all
population growth in the next quarter-century will be in urban areas in the less developed
countries. The fastest growth will not be in the bigger cities but in urban centres with fewer than
500,000 people. Africa is the least urbanized continent, but its urban population is the fastest
growing. One of the targets of Millennium Development Goal 7 (to ensure environmental
sustainability) is to significantly improve the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by the
year 2020. Environmental factors are a major cause of death, disease and lost productivity, all
of which conspire to perpetuate poverty. Unsafe water and inadequate sanitation are typical
hazards of living in slums. Diarrhoea is the second most common cause of child mortality.
Slum dwellers generally also have to contend with poor air quality. Approximately 2 million
children under five die each year from acute respiratory infections. As the largest global killer
of young children, these infections are aggravated by environmental factors such as indoor and
34 outdoor air pollution. Managed well, urban settlements can support growing concentrations
of people, limiting their impact on the environment and improving their health and living
standards. National and local laws and subsidies can discourage waste, encourage conservation
and promote sustainable solutions. Examples of good management include the use of so-
called grey water to flush toilets; low-polluting vehicles and efficient public transport systems
that solve gridlock problems and clean up the atmosphere; low-energy lighting that saves
energy; and waste recycling schemes. There are many examples from around the globe of
local governments, citizens’ organizations, business and industry devising and implementing
innovative answers to the issues of the urban millennium and creating Green Cities.
The former Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan indicated that the rising
concentration of humanity in cities and towns meant that the world would not achieve the
Millennium Development Goals unless environmental planning would be incorporated into all
aspects of urban management. Creating environmentally friendly cities is an admittedly big
challenge, but the technologies and expertise we need already exist. Clean transport, energy-
efficient buildings, safe sanitation and economical water use are possible now, not just in
the future, often in a manner that is affordable for all. He urged individuals, businesses, and
local and national governments to take up the urban environmental challenge. ‘Let us tap the
great knowledge and natural dynamism of urban areas. And let us create “green cities” where
people can raise their children and pursue their dreams in a well-planned, clean and healthy

Our Environment –
Keeping Nairobi Green
Environment is everything around us like air, plants and land. We need to make Nairobi look clean and
tidy. Many whom due to ignorance have lead to cutting down of the trees and reducing their number
have not considered the value of trees over the years. We should plant trees because they bring rain.
Without trees Nairobi wont be green. Without rain, trees and grass can’t grow.

The people, the government, and students should participate in planting trees in events such as world
tree planting day. This will increase the number of trees in Nairobi. We should start tree-planting clubs
in our schools. In this clubs students are taught the importance of trees. School trips should also be
organized to the parks for them to enjoy the scenery.

The government should come in with new laws through acts of parliament. These laws should
enforce discipline to people who cut down trees.
By Elvis Ratemo, Peace Junior Academy

Lydia Ochieng, Sinaga Girls Sec. School

The moon is vanishing. One by one the stars are fading from the cold night sky. Behind the tall
buildings, the sun rises. Its dazzling light illuminates the shards of broken glass at the city’s mucky
zones to a wicked glare. The stench of rotting tomatoes in a garbage pile envelope the air. Once
again, it is dawn in our Kenyan cities and towns.

People, people and people are everywhere. Come public holidays, the situation is worse since the bus
stations are packed. This is when people remember they have rural homes. The sight is pathetic with
all the people and their luggage. Some are scaling the sides of buses as they vainly attempt to haul
themselves on the roof! Surely fellow Kenyans, we need to lift up speculative eyes and address the
heavens. Why this predominantly increasing population in our urban centers?

Cities and towns are humanity’s home as well as its future. The rapidly increasing population in the urban
environments has caused many problems. These have in turn burdened our lives and will continue to do
so. However we can save ourselves if we come up with feasible ways and means of taking action. I am
reasonably soothed by the efficiency and firm assurance by some organizations that are already creating
awareness on this issue, like the Kenya Organization for Environmental Education (K.O.E.E.). Now that
we have a base, we should work to keep our environment meticulously clean.

38 We can do this by rooting out the key cause of concentration in towns, which is localization of firms.
Industries put up in urban centres have attracted people over the years. This is what has brought about
social problems like increased crime rate, congestion and pollution of the environment. To curb this,
the government should introduce delocalization programs. It should deliberately disperse the firms to
different regions within the country.

Many of Kenya’s cities and towns are now known as the breeding grounds for pollution, disease,
name it. However, the situation is not yet hopeless because we can strive to make them flagships of
sustainable development. If industries were set up in rural areas, people would seek employment there.
This would reduce the rate of rural-urban migration. Eventually the cities and towns would be well
maintained because they would carry their carrying capacity.
Our dream urban centres should be places with a cool atmosphere. For instance, why should Nairobi
always have to be ‘the city in the sun’ or Kisumu ‘the big kiln’ where people have to rush into air-
conditioned hotels to escape the sun’s sultry heat? We ought to plant more trees and flowers so as
to create an ideal environment. Picture this: common ‘Wananchi’ roaming our town or city streets
in the morning sunshine. The trees swaying in rhythm to the blowing mild breeze. The world then
looks fresh and brimming with a promising life… we all know that this is what we want but instead
we just let things be!

Our towns should be kept clean by throwing trash in bins placed at strategic positions. Industries
should have their wastes before they are properly disposed. The government should fine people who
go against these measures put in place. If we all work hand in hand, our vision for this planet, which
is building green cities, would be a reality. So never say die, up man and try.

Gladys C. Ng’weno, Alliance Girls’ High School


Beda Mubatsi, Nakuru Lions Primary School

Sitting on the banks of River Athi, and looking down at the slow flowing river and the sun rays shining
gleamly producing a clear reflection of the surrounding waste, heaps of garbage, oil patches on the
verge and two dead cats decaying is when I realized it was not the river but the environment which
produced such a terrible and despairing reflection!! Where was the greenery? I quickly searched
around and my eyes searched eagerly with hope for anything green or of the shade but no, nothing
seemed to appear. I was intensely disappointed and horrified at accepting the fact, “our greenery
does not exist anymore.”

This brings us to the topic of today-“GREEN CITIES-PLAN FOR THE PLANET.” A colourful dream in
the eyes, a clear sharp vision in the mind and a struggling hope in the heart is what can change today
to a brighter tomorrow. This disappointment does not exist in one area or country but interestingly,
worldwide. So as the saying goes-‘the solution for any problem lies in the problem itself,’ we shall
look at the monsters killing our greenery.

If we narrow down to the steepest point we will discover the four main factors discouraging a green
city are-pollution, poverty, disease, and despair. Pollution being a major factor, not only destroying
the greenery but also the environment. Soil pollution caused by disposing off wastes such as tins and
plastics on the ground and later found forming a heap of garbage that kills off all living grass. This
pollution is also caused by the intensive use of fertilizers, which are mainly artificial, and therefore
these chemicals kill off many plants and organisms, for example bacteria that help in various purposes.
Industrial wastes, which mainly consist of harmful chemicals, encourage defective plant growth. Water
pollution is caused mainly due to oil spillages, which is deposited at the nearest grounds preventing
any plant growth and industrial wastes being deposited directly into these waters also serve the same
purpose. The evaporation of water into the atmosphere combines with major air pollutants forming
harmful compounds. Sulphur dioxide leads to the formation of acid rain. Acid rain does not only corrode
buildings but falls through the air into water sources forming acid water and acidic soils. These acid
waters encourage defective plant growth and when farmers sell the vegetables or fruits grown in such
environment to people, they develop diseases such as Alzheimer which make them inactive leading to
health problems and the farmer loses income leading to poverty.

Here comes our second point, poverty. Poverty directly supports the disappearance of greenery as
these poor farmers and individuals cut off trees to provide wood, which is used to make homes in the
slum areas. They also do so to get wood to make furniture for sale, to reduce poverty. Another major
problem is the clearing of dense green forests to put up industries and factories and factories, which
produce chemicals and gases which affect the plants nearby. When these are sold and consumed,
they cause various diseases. These diseases accelerate ineffectiveness and inability to co-operate
with work and therefore, poverty is once again reintroduced. They have also killed a few in the
urban areas and its better we act now or never. Living in such appalling conditions can leave anyone
in despair and hopelessness for the future. In such depressing situations, no one would even think of
how to discover methods to regain our lost greenery.

It is not an easy task but with effort and positive thinking it will surely succeed. Firstly, there should
be proper garbage disposal with tins and plastics being recycled and re-used, and organic wastes can
be made into natural fertilizers, used for farming and otherwise dug into the ground. A pit made
at a particular spot should be used, if things need to be burnt. Oil spillages are hard to control but
making sure the tanks are properly secured is vital and otherwise this oil can be cleaned up, creating
employment to the unemployed. Industries directing their wastes into water sources should be
heavily fined and they should treat gases such as sulphur dioxide to be less harmful, before releasing
it to the environment. Acid water and soil can only become neutral by adding alkaline materials
(chemicals), which are not encouraged, but it is wiser to prevent or reduce emission of sulphur
dioxide. Cutting down of trees should be banned and a particular place for the building of factories
should be made. Farmers should use natural fertilizers made from organic wastes if possible to
increase their sales and prevent poverty.
42 To plan for the planet to have green cities is not hard to achieve if everyone is endlessly going to
stretch a hand to help, so please plant two seeds for every one plant you cut and we promise you a
brighter greener city.

Bansri Pattni, Arya Vedic School


Madhav Nitin Gujjar, Oshwal High School

Going Green Gaining Life
The planet is our today, our tomorrow and our home. To make it a better place, initiatives need
to be taken. Only those who inhabit it can make this great decision. A choice that not only shows
obligation but dedication.

A walk in one of our city streets will verify what our world has become. A keen observer would notice
the tall buildings, large industries and paved sidewalks.Industrial plants and numerous vehicles in
the urban setting are the root cause of toxic fumes which deplete the ozone layer. By planting trees
that would absorb gases like carbon dioxide, we would go a long way in propelling the fight against
global warming. Acid rain, which is as a result of sulphur fumes, causes the yellowing of leaves. This
literally removes the green life from our cities. Therefore by introducing ways by which these acidic
gases can get neutralized, we can curb this emerging issue.

Expansion of cities brings about deforestation, which eventually leads to environmental degradation. By
increasing the number of parks within cities, we co-exist with the environment. A proper example is the
44 ongoing rehabilitation of roundabouts. This is an effort that should be greatly enforced. The central business
district is a filthy sight and is an embarrassment to the human sensibility. The dirty paper bags, dusty paths
and decaying matter hide the potential of ever living in a green city. Establishing proper disposal site and
sorting garbage can easily eliminate this problem. Biodegradable material can be made into compost manure
and used on vegetation, thereby, making green cities out of what could otherwise be termed as useless.

Through organizing projects that encouraging environmental conservation, we can encourage

everyone to take part in activities such as recycling litter. The young, the old, the rich, the poor all
can give a helping hand in keeping the environment clean and green. By organizing public functions
like tree planting campaigns, the public can be sensitized on environmental issues. Effects of this
exercise should be felt countrywide but mostly in urban areas where it’s in dire need.

In conclusion the government and non-governmental organizations should play a major role in
enforcing this campaign. Without followers we have no leaders, hence every citizen should strive to
make our planet green; as God intended it. Lets make the ordinary extraordinary.

Sandra Michoma, Kenya high school


Rita Shah, Peace Junior Academy

The population in our urban centres is growing at an alarming rate. Our towns and cities are
overwhelmed with this influx and the urban environments are worsening causing untold problems
to the already unplanned and poorly managed cities.

However, with careful planning, our urban centres can be areas of comfort and hope and sustainable
development in general. Let’s look at some of the major problems faced by our towns and cities and
some of the suggestions towards improving these conditions.

Our urban planners seem to be having difficulties in getting rid of the garbage problems. Most of our
cities and towns lack proper dumping sites. Some of these sites could be found near residential areas
thus endangering the health of the population around.

It is emphatic therefore for these sites to be relocated away from residential areas to ideal locations.
Studies for better management of waste disposal and installation of recycling processes should be
put in place. Sewage treatment works should be carefully planned and attended to. Pit latrines can
be constructed and maintained.

Streets and roads have been neglected and not well cleaned and maintained. Sweeping and collecting
46 of solid waste throughout the city should be addressed. This should be done free in those poor
neighborhoods that are not covered by the city authorities. The well to do residents should be taxed
more to meet costs of these services.
Rubbish bins can be placed at strategic places and be emptied frequently. These services can be
privatized and poor dwellers exempted from paying this tax.

Use of bicycles can be encouraged as a cheap and safe means of transport in our urban areas. This
will go along way in checking the pollution of our environment by the emission of fumes from our
vehicles leave alone reducing traffic jams on our roads. Public means such as buses can be a solution to
congestion on our roads during rush hours.

Slums can be reduced to minimal areas if our planners put in place rules and regulations to govern all
housing plans and constructions. Let us have decent housing units for all urban dwellers irrespective
of their economic status. Social services should be made cheap for the poor residents and subsidized
by the richer residents.
Finally, sensitizing the urban population through the media can encourage afforestation. Occasional
tree planting days can be put in place. Cattle grazing should not be allowed in our urban areas for
they destroy the already depleted plant life in our cities.

Elatsia Serah, Kaimosi Girls’ High School


Aksher Patel, Kisumu Senior

Most of the cities are composed of concrete structures like walls, pavements and tarmac roads.
These structures contribute to “urban heat islands.” That is accumulated cloud of heat within cities.
This problem is brought by concrete structures that are directly heated by sunlight. The heat energy
is then reflected back and accumulates in the cities.

Excess industries and motor vehicles in the cities also emit carbon dioxide, soot and other gases that
pollute the urban atmosphere. These are brought about by the stiff development, which sometimes
tends to be of When we observe the cities around the world, hardly do we find any green vegetation
especially at the Central Business District. more harm than comfort to the urban residents. The
emitted gases are hazardous to our health. Apart from causing greenhouse effect in the cities, they
also pollute air leaving us to inhale the black carbon dust.

Chemicals from industries also pollute the water bodies in towns and as a result some profitable
organic animals are killed. The industry managers should introduce some channels for the waste
from the industries to be treated before disposal. The rubbish on the environment should also be
gotten rid of through burning after use and recycling those that can be recycled.

Population increase also has a role to play in the pollution of the environment. It is my opinion that
48 some industries be built in rural areas so as to reverse the rural-urban migration into rural-rural. This
will help to decongest the cities especially in Africa where the problem is rampant.

The only way to solve the problem of urban heat islands is to adopt the “Green cities approach as
a plan for our planet.” This means the inclusion of trees and grass in the cities even in the Central
Business Districts and protecting the already existing vegetation in the cities. The vegetation will
help to absorb carbon dioxide from the urban industries and population and in turn give out oxygen,
thus purifying the urban atmosphere. Trees will help us in many ways like attracting rainfall and
increasing home for undomesticated animals. The vehicle owners should also be encouraged to use
lead free motor vehicle fuels to avoid air pollution.

Finally, it is high time we realize that we need our environment but it does not need us. Therefore,
we should use it in a better way for sustainable development.

Joyce Akinyi, Muslim Secondary School


Chirag Shah, Oshwal High School

Metropolises play a major role in the development of countries. Development is seen through the
cities and is perceived to be good. Good governance is eminent in such countries. Amid all the good
talk about development, the environment is always in the dark.

We should not only preserve what is profitable. The environment should be preserved, as it is a
very important aspect of life. Industries are major pollutants of cities around the world. Dangerous
substances like sulphur and other poisonous chemicals might be present in the thick smoke are
released into atmosphere. This harms the ozone layer, which protects us from the ultra-violet rays
of the sun. The smoke from vehicles and other apparatus harm the ozone layer and cause infirmities
like asthma and cancer.

The pollution of rivers by industries in the conurbations also affects national parks. Rivers may be the
only derivation of water for the animals. The rivers meander with garbage from cities and end up in
parks. The animals drink the contaminated water and die. Man’s greed and negligence also causes
obliteration of animals. The pollution ill affect the tourism industry negatively.

The influx of people into the cities compromises the milieu. Shantytowns are growing at an alarming
rate. The environment in the slums is very unhealthy. Raw sewage passes just by people’s doorsteps.
50 There are ways and means to protect the environment in the cities. Industries should be reduced and the
rural areas developed to reduce the rate of rural to urban migration. Vehicles owners should turn to using
low sulphur and unleaded petrol. Slum dwellers should be relocated and given better housing. If not they
should learn that even though they are impoverished, they should learn to care for the environment.

Trees and flowers should be planted within the cities. They will both purify the air and also beautify
the cities. If given the opportunity, I would assert my obligation to the committee of the Nobel
Peace price award for choosing Hon. Wangari Maathai as last year’s winner. I acquiesce fully with
them as she truly fought for the conservation of forests before she was involved in politics, shedding
blood for Mother Nature. She truly deserved it.

Plant life and animal life face extinction and the high rate of pollution caused by man in the cities.
Development starts with taking care of the environment. With this our cities will be green.

Allan Job Owino, Peace Junior Academy


Dalitso Jelle Ngoma, Kisumu International School

Greener Cities Plan for the Planet
Greener cities plan for the planet is a long term plan geared towards attaining a sustainable earth
society- a society with resources that support its inhabitants sufficiently.

A major environmental problem facing urban centers is pollution. The term pollution refers to the
addition of harmful components in the environment. A major abiotic component of the environment
that has been affected with pollution is the soil through improper disposal. The water has been
affected by untreated industrial effluents whereas the air has been polluted by toxic emissions
containing sulphur dioxide and the like.

Another problem that has burdened urban centers is congestion. This is as a result of escalating population
increase. This has led to housing problems, unhygienic conditions, poverty and many more problems.

Moreover, the urban centers have been greatly affected with poor urban planning. This has led
to poor land use hence affecting the environment. In addition to that, it has influenced sumbled
52 structural outlay of cities.

A measure that could be put in place to curb the rapid urbanization is decentralization of of industries
ought to be set up particularly in the rural areas. This is going to help control congestion in cities.

Secondly education concerning conservation and preservation of natural resources ought to be offered
at the community level. The education should also emphasize on sanitation matters to help curb
diseases. An integrated natural resource management plan ought to be put in place in order to preserve
the resource for the coming generations.

In addition to that, recycling and reusing of waste materials could prove essential. Sewage treatment
plants ought to be set up as well as other recycling plants.

As far as the industries are concerned, they ought to use alternative energy sources rather than fossil
fuels. The alternatives include; solar energy hydroelectric power and geothermal power.
Lastly, the government ought to implement policies some of which may ban unroadworthy vehicles
from the road and other substances that may harm the environment.

Finally, it is my sincere belief that actions taken as suggested in the remedies already mentioned
will realize our national dream and hope of attaining a sustainable society-one that provides for its
inhabitants adequately.

Richard Gachau, Lions Primary School


Rita Shah, Peace Junior Academy

Green Cities: Plan For The Planet
There are many problems facing our cities today. Some of these problems include: overcrowding in the
town center and residential areas, traffic jams, pollution of the water, land and air and insecurity.

We need to solve these problems because cities are our homes, in this planet and we cannot move to
another planet. Children would like to see more greenery instead of congested buildings and roads.
We would like to have more trees so as to breathe in cleaner air and since forests also give us water,
it would ensure rainfall.

We are tired of breathing in air which is dirty and polluted by vehicles and factories, so what can we

There is much we can do from not buying large houses that contribute to suburban sprawl or rejecting
sport utility vehicles to relatively small ones such as composting, recycling and rejecting disposable
54 products. We can limit our consumption and we can invest in ethically and environmentally
responsible companies. Each step is important and makes a difference.

Inform all the people to act on behalf of the environment.

Set up programmes to inform younger Kenyans to value what is left of their spectacular wilderness.

To make all saw mills and wood cutting companies to grow ten times more trees than to cut the
same number of trees.

Convince the government to pass strong legislation to protect endangered species.

We can also support environmental activities by increasing our awareness of the issues and become
part of the greater environment movement around us through joining organizations, writing letters to
elected representatives and showing up at rallies for environmental courses. We are being naïve if we
think that we should not particularly if we are endowed with the awareness of the world around us.
We can also learn to enjoy and respect nature knowing the name of a particular tree or catching a
glimpse around us. I am lucky because I live in a country where nature is never far away truly it can
usually be found much closer than one would think and it is always worth the effort.

Every act of buying and consuming has environmental implications. In short we are the ones who
make heaven or hell on our planet earth. Let us all work together for greener cities.

Hemanshi Galaiya, Arya Vedic Primary School


Mary Nelson, Peace Junior Academy

W O R L D E N V I R O N M E N T D AY - 5 J U N E 2 0 0 4




56 Chapter 3
WANTED: Seas And Oceans –
Dead Or Alive?

Ronald Tunji, Nakuru Lions Primary School

The World Environment Day theme selected for 2004 is Wanted! Seas and Oceans – Dead or Alive?
The theme asks that we make a choice as to how we want to treat the Earth’s seas and oceans. It
also calls on each and every one of us to act. Do we want to keep seas and oceans healthy and alive
or polluted and dead? Oceans cover 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface and more than 90 per cent of
the planet’s living biomass is found in the oceans. Most of the pollution in seas and oceans comes
from land-based activities. Marine pollution, exotic species and alteration of coastal habitats are a
growing threat to important marine ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs.
Reefs also protect human populations along coastlines from wave and storm damage by serving as
buffers between oceans and near-shore communities. However, majority of the world’s remaining
reefs are at significant risk of being lost in the next three decades. The major causes of coral reef
decline are coastal development, sedimentation, destructive fishing practices, pollution, tourism and
global warming.

Marine habitats are facing a growing threat due to pollution and human activities. Less than one
half a per cent of marine habitats are protected. The High Seas (areas of the ocean beyond national
jurisdiction) cover almost 50 per cent of the Earth’s surface. They are the least protected part of
the world. Although there are some treaties that protect ocean-going species such as whales, as
well as some fisheries agreements, there are no protected areas in the High Seas. Studies show that
58 protecting critical marine habitats commercial fisheries.

As stated by the former UNEP Executive Director, Mr. Klaus Toepfer, our planet is blue as seen from
space which demonstrates to the oceans that cover 70 per cent of its surface. However, destructive
fishing practices are killing hundreds of thousands of marine species each year and helping to destroy
important undersea habitats. Another threat to marine life and to human health and livelihoods is
pollution. Eighty per cent of all pollution in the seas comes from land-based activities. But it is not
just coastal dwellers and industries that pollute the oceans. Rivers that run into the sea carry silt,
untreated sewage, industrial waste and the assorted rubbish of consumers from far inland. Each year
tons of discarded plastic products find their way into the oceans, killing hundreds of thousands of
marine mammals and ocean-going birds, and untold numbers of fish. This waste is not only deadly, it
is persistent. Animals killed by plastic waste decompose, but the plastic does not. Instead it remains
in the ecosystem to kill again and again.
Also adding to the ocean’s woes are agricultural fertilizers which, when washed downstream, are
creating a growing number of coastal dead zones where algal blooms regularly consume all the
oxygen in the water. Then there is global warming, which is raising sea levels and temperatures.
Climate change threatens to destroy the majority of the world’s coral reefs, wreak havoc on the
fragile economies of small island developing states, and devastate the lives of billions of people who
live within range of the increasingly fierce and frequent storms, hurricanes and typhoons that are
battering coasts worldwide. All this adds up to a picture of an ecosystem in crisis. That is why UNEP
chose Wanted! Seas and Oceans: Dead or Alive? as the theme for World Environment Day 2004. We
have a choice to act now and save our marine resources, or watch as the rich diversity of life in our
seas and oceans declines beyond the point of recovery.

“Sweet Water, We Need You”
Oceans and seas-the source of life on our planet is now being destroyed one by one. We must ask our
selves why this is happening. What do we gain when we destroy our source of life? The water we
pollute is the same water we drink. Are we doing the right thing or not?

Nuclear waste jets normally fly over the seas and drop bomb. This is very dangerous because it kills
the fish even the ones yet to be discovered. Also most people enjoy eating fish because it is nutritious
and healthy. So why do we destroy these resources?

Sewage is one of the worst things to dump in our seas and oceans. It kills the fish and destroys a
great water source. There should be a law that states no sewage dumping. This one of the causes of
typhoid and should be stopped immediately.

Oil spills are also dangerous and cause a lot of damage. When ships are at the sea the oil in their tanks
60 spill into the oceans and seas. It spreads so quickly killing many of the sea creatures in its path till it
reaches the shore. Cleaning oil spills is very hard and takes very long. I advise the ships to close their
tanks properly and think of the sea creatures and what would happen to them.

Garbage services companies like to dump the collected garbage into seas and oceans. This is bad
as it makes our seas and oceans dirty, unhygienic and a bad environment for the fish. The garbage
services companies should put themselves into the fish’s shoe and see how they feel.
Factories dump waste into the oceans and seas. They may be making. They may be making something
good inside but outside they are polluting and destroying seas and oceans by killing fish and other sea
creatures. Factories must find a way to get rid of their waste without polluting the environment.
We pour poison in oceans and sea without thinking of the fish. Fish die everyday because of poison
and this should stop. We sometimes release ourselves in rivers, lakes, seas and oceans. Some people
also bath in the same water and wash their clothes. This is unhygienic and we should stop as it is
dangerous for both the sea creatures and ourselves.

We have seen how we pollute our waters. Let us join hands and stop pollution. We must work hard
to save our lives and the seas and oceans. The creatures living in it are also important. Let us save
our earth because water is life.

Anita Vitisia, Makini Middle School


Meeth Chotai, Kisumu Junior Academy

The essential and fundamental contribution of our seas and oceans cannot go unobserved. Their
essence lies in their capability to be exploited as a resource. This is enhanced by their vast sizes
whereby they cover about seventy percent of the earth’s crustal surface with the bigger share of this
mass of water covered by seas and oceans.

The extent of destruction of seas and oceans has reached an alarming point due to overexploitation
and misuse. They lay a good foundation for exemplary services to be performed with their aid; which
we tend to overlook. It would be impossible to think that man could do without seas and oceans.

They can be used in several ways to the benefit of mankind as they prove to be resourceful. First
and foremost, they offer quality waterways used for transportation. Ships, steamers and a variety
of boats are used for transportation of goods and people. With seas and oceans covering the greater
part of the world this form of transport becomes one of the most expansive.

Within the aquatic ecosystem, seas and oceans harbor a wide variety of aquatic species. These species
act as a source of food as well as attract tourists since they differ from one geographical region to
another. This acts as a vital foreign exchange earner.

In some parts of the world, sea and ocean beds have been known to be rich in crude oil and natural
gas which can be exploited and made use of both I industrial and domestic sectors. Surplus of this can
be exported to earn the country foreign exchange.

Bound to this, seas and oceans offer sites for sporting activities. Under this umbrella, water sporting
has greatly advanced and has led to greater involvement of people into these sports such as water
skiing, scuba diving and sea angling. This takes place at both shallow and deep seas.

In industrial prospect, seawater is used to generate thermal electricity and also due to its saline
status, it is evaporated leaving salt crystals behind. Thus it is used in salt making for use in industry
and for home purposes.

Sarcastically, even after such great contributions towards the well being of man, he pays back in
a different and ironic style. This has conspicuously stuck out through the way man has adversely
polluted this great resource. Pollutants that are recklessly disposed find their way into seas and
oceans and usually cause great mayhem. Paradoxically, just a handful have taken the bull by the
horns and dare to speak out about this menacing and alarming rate of destruction of our seas and
oceans. Oil spillage, releasing untreated industrial effluence into rivers that drain into seas and
oceans, carrying out dangerous atomic and nuclear tests have all played a part in the destruction of
the nature of our seas and oceans.

This has led to the extinction of many aquatic and marine lives but also exposing others to this catastrophe.
Consequently, this has adversely affected our economy through different channels. The most evident is
the decrease of marine life thus marine parks has lost their market, with just a handful visiting them.
Secondly, the beach resorts experience hard times since they have been wrecked by pollution and reduced
to good for nothing. Pollution of our water bodies also leads to delay; congestion or even inaccessibility
of may sea routes. Thus, further loss of finding an alternative is incurred.

All these lead to a common channel: it further pulls our already critically affected economy to its
knees. This is what leads to poor state of performance of our tourism industry as well as poorly
developed water transport network.

If at all we want to achieve something in future, then we must begin now. Charity begins at home
and it is up to us to improve the status of our seas, which must begin with inland water bodies.
Lets not pollute our lake rivers or even streams since their pollution leads to pollution of seas and
64 oceans, though indirectly. The water from inland water bodies goes down stream, or leeches to the
underground aquifers and their final destination is in the seas and oceans.

The price of good care of our seas and oceans is improved general status of or tourism sector, which
enhances good performance of our economy. This can even be more efficacious if everyone takes
into consideration the well being of our waters.

Save it! It is the water that quenches that deadly thirst giving you a chance to gasp for a breath; life.
Save your life by saving our water.

Charles M. Kabati, Light Academy Secondary School


Milan Veghela, Kisumu Junior Academy

The wind swaying across the oceans, the blue water splashing the shores and the scent that awakens
everybody. The seas and oceans of mother earth, our only source of natural water, without which
no species can live. Covering more than what we live on, is the water body of this world. We wake
up everyday to have a glance at the gigantic water body, which flows gently and sometimes harshly
picks up anything in its way.

Today there is nothing left for us to look at. The blue water, turned into green, slimy liquid. It no
longer can be called water. Industries, factories are major sources of pollution that is causing water
to turn into slimy liquid. The air is covered with heavy cloud of smoke, breathing is made difficult.
Our lives are at stake. Our natural habitats are polluted with smog, water dissolved with large masses
of pollution.

Motor vehicles are no less the major pollutants. The petrol burned is turned into smoke, which is a
very harmful gas to our environment. Plastic bags, which are thrown into rivers, end up polluting the
oceans. Plastic is a non-biodegradable substance, which pollutes the earth. Pollutants from factories,
which end up in the oceans, kill many fish krill. Life in the oceans is decreased.

We have to stop polluting the waters of earth. To save our lives and all other lives, we have to
66 stop.

Your contribution to stopping pollutants get into the seas and oceans will help a lot. Our work will
be made easier.

Please talk to your friends and convince them to help. If you help, everyone will help.

Deep Tailor, Oshwal High School


Rahul R. Bhayani
Ever wondered how this world would be without seas and oceans? If you are amongst the large numbers
who haven’t, I think you should sit back and think. Take time, think of what harm you are causing
yourself and other citizens by polluting our seas and oceans. What benefits are there in polluting our
water sources? The answer lies in behavior change.

Why must it be this way? It costs you nothing to leave the seas and oceans alive and healthy. Does it hurt
to see our seas and oceans clean? One is left with so many un answerable questions. It’s not a sin for the
seas and oceans being clean and healthy. Why cant it be the other way round. As we all know, water is a
very precious liquid, but when polluted and misused, water can be very dangerous and disastrous.

Most of the blame goes to slum dwellers and the workers in the industrial area, but is it possible that
such a small group can defeat a whole nation of people? Is it not possible to overcome them? It’s a
pity that such a small number of people can make so many others suffer.

The main tributaries to look after are Mbagathi River, which goes through Nairobi Dam then to the
Industrial area. It’s heavily polluted by slum dwellers as it passes through the Nairobi Dam. Others
include Mokoyeti, Ruaraka, Karura and Gatharaini. If we all unite as citizens of Kenya and take good
care of these tributaries, Kenya will never be the same again. On the other hand, thanks to the new
68 government, we have hope that our seas and oceans will be once more alive and healthy. It was a
minister who once said that plans for cleaning Nairobi Dam are underway. It’s a good thing and quite

For the pollution to stop, I think heavy fines and penalties should be given to any one who pollutes
our water sources. Factories that discharge their wastes into our seas and should be stopped, for this
destroys aquatic life.
The government should tighten the security around these places. Its also possible a solution to the
monster pollution. There should be no allowance for unauthorized people in such places. Long jail
terms might also prove to be a solution. Pollution should be stopped!

It comes as a second thought that the government should put cameras a round our seas and oceans. The
cameras should be able to clearly identify the time the pollutant arrived and what he or she did.
Do you think that by the time our grandchildren are born, these water sources will be in existence if
they aren’t taken care of now? For your sake and their sake, take care of our seas and oceans. Let our
grand children live in a better Kenya than we are living in now. Take care of our seas and oceans! Stop
polluting seas and oceans! Let the seas and oceans be fit for human consumption.

Paul Francis Nyawanda, All Saints Cathedral Primary School

Washing of machines in
water sources pollutes them
She covers almost three quarters of the earth’s surface,
A rampant beast at times, tearing and chocking land,
But what an awesome fete she is,
Quenching the thirst of our mother earth,
She is the brilliant sea!
Alas! All is lost,
In some places you cant even find her,
Sickened by filth and black “gunge” she’s forced to flee,
And her thirst unfulfilled: mother earth begin to die.

We forget to feel pain or sorrow for her water,

70 Ignore the good cause of helping her,
But with help one can
stop her retreat,
Stop her pollution!
Clean up her filth,
Save mother earth from her poisoned drink
I think and dream how she could be,
Clean, dazzling with her inhabitants alive
Forget the black gunge forget the filth
Relieve her pain; make her break the fresh air,
No poison in her veins
I beg for the earth’s children,
To save her from disease,
To save her from our malice,
To begin a new eternal peace,

I shall end my write with good words,

For I have a dream not to be broken,
Let the sea be caught firmly and cleaned,
Let the passion of mother earth be redeemed!

Dikul shah, Oshwal High School

“Beautiful, Beautiful Seas”
Seas and oceans are large water bodies, which cover a large surface of the earth. Some of the seas
and oceans are Red sea, Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean.

The seas and oceans are very important to mankind as they provide a source of food. The seas and
oceans are also a network of shipping lanes and a supplier of energy, minerals and medicine. The seas
and oceans are getting more important as the land becomes scarce due to the rising population.

Oceans and seas cover most of the earth’s surface and have an influence on climate. They are also
home to many animals and attract tourists to the shore and so they provide a source of income to
many countries including Kenya.

Seas and oceans thought to be so large that no level of human misuse could damage them are now
under threat. Human beings are treating the seas and oceans as a giant trash bins. The discharge of
72 wastes from industries and cities is one of the largest sources of contamination; this problem will
increase as the population continues to grow.

Oil spills are destroying marine homes and killing fish, mammals and birds. The coastal habitats are
being removed so as to build town settlements or make farms. Over fishing is finishing the fish that
has supplied man with food, oil and medicine for many years.

The beautiful seas and oceans are important and should be protected. The people who use seas and
oceans should be responsible for their protection. Long live beautiful seas and oceans.

Sharon Kitur, Makini School


Nyanquir Atem, Peace Junior Academy

Decide; Get Serious,
Save The Seas And Oceans
The setting sun was blazed and its flickering rays coloured the western horizon orange. The cows
were moving back from their grazing fields as the hens moved hither thither getting into their
already dark shelters. The melodious chirping of birds going back to their nests could be heard all
over. Suddenly darkness fell and there was maximum silence in the air with an exception of stubborn
babies crying for reasons best known to their mothers. I prepared supper early enough and within
no time; I had my finger licking delicacy. As I retired to bed a string of endless questions rang in my
mind of how I would spend the night alone.

On that particular day my parents had gone for a long journey and I was not sure what time they
would be back. Within a twinkle of an eye, I was heavy eyed and dosed off. I slept as soundly as a
rabbit almost through out the night. In a spur of a moment, I heard a voice say, “Welcome to the
74 world of seas and oceans”. Is this the life I thought of?

I was the Indian Ocean and it was the red sea who had welcomed me. We could see posters around
written, ‘WANTED! SEAS AND OCEANS! DEAD OR ALIVE!’ No, we were not going back. Man had
used us and now he didn’t care about us anymore. I was the pit, and all waste and garbage were
thrown in me. What had I done to deserve such cruel treatment? Then the sewage, we all hated the
stench. Why did it have to be here? I hated to see the ocean animals’ die while all I could do was
watch. Did human beings care for the sea and ocean animals? They too have rights just like them. I
wished that God who had put them in charge of us could take us away from them, these selfish and
self-centered species.

The chemicals from the industries were all dumped in me. I had been the source of water, but man
misused me in his house. He left the taps running and didn’t care.

I loved it when people swam in me but some even bathed in me, leaving the scum and irritating
smell. Man didn’t care and so he didn’t deserve to have us. Red sea and I had made a plan with the
other seas and oceans to disappear and so we did. We were not returning. Perhaps we thought, man
would realize our importance, as you never quite know the worth of something until you lose it.
Red sea told me that he had heard people stand listening to him swashing and this also made past
events flood my mind. I remembered seeing vibrant smiles on peoples’ faces as they watched and
scrutinized my waves. Some said, they loved the sound of my waves at night, and as the flickering
rays of the sun coloured the eastern horizon orange and water on me shone brightly like pieces of
mirror exposed to light. It is funny how human beings remember the bad incidences and forget that
without me they could not have enjoyed this life.

Knowing man wanted us, and he didn’t even request, perplexed and mesmerized me when I saw we
were wanted, dead or alive. Anger blocked my throat having known man hadn’t learnt yet. Man
thought it was his right to have us, he did not realize that we were a gift from God. We all decided
that it was for this reason that we would go for good. As we were about to leave for Pluto, I felt I
wanted to see my ocean bed and bid it good-bye. We had all decided to go to Pluto since we had
heard man wanted to go Mars and Jupiter but not Pluto. We knew he would not think of Pluto at
least not in the near future.

What caught my eye on the shore was a turning point in my life. I saw a small boy looking as helpless
as an infant and as blameless as snow. Tears rolled down his rosy cheeks like a river that had burst its
banks as he pointed to my dry ocean bed. Thoughts of self-pity filled my heat soaked brain as pangs of
sadness surged through me. I felt intense pain in my heart as I realized I was punishing the wrong and
innocent people. I changed my mind about running away. It wasn’t so easy to convince the others to go
back, ‘We could give man a second chance’ was the line I used and in the end, we all decided we would
go back. One thing was for sure, we came back for the future generations that they too would enjoy
the beauty of the world and even in the difficult times be able to see sunshine by looking around them
and seeing how beautiful nature is.

It was great joy when we returned. Some cuddle hugged while others jumped in ecstasy. Women
filled the air with ululations while the small innocent ones happily clapped their hands. This was how
it was meant to be. I was still looking around when I was catapulted out of my sultry bed, only to
realize it was a dream. I then heard a knock on the door. I rushed to open the door and was delighted
to see my parents come with a tag written, ‘DECIDE, GET SERIOUS, SAVE SEAS AND OCEANS’. I then
remembered my dream. Surely dreams are almost realistic. I know that the dream I had wasn’t just a
dream, it was meant to be for a reason. Let us all learn something from my dream. Our environment
is in our hands. Let us put ourselves in the place of our seas and oceans and stop polluting them.
Yes, I am talking to you, yes you. We ought to strive to make our environment better than we found
it, for our future generations and let us top the dumping in the seas and oceans. For me, ambition has
become a dirty word. I prefer ‘hunger’. To be hungry- to have a dream that one-day human beings
will take the initiative to care for our seas and oceans. If we don’t decide.

Today, then who knows, tomorrow we may wake up and find they are gone and this time for good.



Jimiya Omar, Kenya High School


Chirag Shah, Oshwal High School

78 Chapter 4
Water – Two Billion People
Are Dying For It

Vishal Shah, Kisumu Junior Academy

The World Environment Day theme selected for 2003 is Water - Two Billion People are Dying for
It! The theme calls on each of us to help safeguard the most precious source of life on our planet

Improved water management has brought enormous benefits to people in developing countries. In
the past 20 years, over 2.4 billion people have gained access to safe water supplies and 600 million
to improved sanitation. Nevertheless, one in six people still have no regular access to safe drinking
water and even more lack access to adequate sanitation facilities. Those without access to adequate
sanitation are the poorest and most vulnerable. In Africa, 300 million people (40 per cent of the
population) live without basic sanitation and hygiene. Waste water in developing countries is
discharged without treatment into rivers and streams. Unsanitary water, which provides a breeding
ground for parasites, amoebas and bacteria, damages the health of 1.2 billion people a year. Water-
borne diseases are responsible for 80 per cent of illnesses and deaths in the developing world,
killing a child every eight seconds. Half the world’s hospital beds are occupied by people suffering
from water-borne diseases. In East Africa, between 1990 and 2000, the number of people without
sanitation doubled to 19 million.

Most of our freshwater is used to grow food. Agriculture accounts for the majority of the world’s
80 water consumption. Nearly 200 million people in Africa are facing serious water shortages. Water
problems are more related to mismanagement than scarcity. Logging and land conversion to
accommodate human demand has shrunk the world’s forests by half, contributing to increased
soil erosion and water scarcity. The world’s population also live close to and depend on wetlands.
Wetlands act as highly efficient sewage treatment works, absorbing chemicals and filtering pollutants
and sediments. Urban and industrial development has claimed half the world’s wetlands.

At the Millennium Summit and World Summit on Sustainable Development, the international
community set measurable, time-bound commitments for the provision of safe water and sanitation.
These targets - to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking
water and basic sanitation services - are vital in and of themselves, but are also crucial if we are
to meet the other Millennium Development Goals, including reducing child mortality, combating
malaria, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, empowering women, and improving the lives of
slum dwellers.
Many parts of the world now face water scarcity because of climate change, pollution and over-
consumption. Our challenge is to provide water services to all, especially the poor; to maximize water
productivity, especially in agriculture. What is needed, along with fresh water, is fresh thinking. We
need to learn how to value water by finding practical, appropriate solutions to ensure the reliable and
equitable supply of water. Some of these solutions are simple and cheap. Rainwater harvesting, for
instance, could help up to 2 billion people in our continent. End-of-pipe water purification and public
health education about basic hygiene practices would go a long way towards alleviating the global
disease burden caused by dirty water. Providing adequate sanitation and sustainable freshwater
supplies will also require significant new investment in infrastructure and technology.

Water is a clear colourless, tasteless liquid essential to life. All living things need water for all their
bodily functions. Thirsty people also drink water to quench their thirst. 7/8 of the earth’s surface is
water but the majority is salty water.

We get water from rivers, wells, lakes, pools, springs. In the 3rd world countries, majority of us do not have
clean piped water. In these areas, water for drinking is available far from places of habitation especially in
the drier areas. The supply of water is irregular because of rivers and lakes drying up. Wells too can dry up.
Such water is not treated properly and is not clean. In the few areas that have piped water, they have a
problem too. Their problem is pipe bursts, pumps breaking down and shortage of chemicals to treat water.

Unfortunately we are our worst enemies when it comes to water conservation and this makes me very
angry. The things that make the problems worse are the uprooting of trees and deforestation. We do
not dig steps on steep slopes to prevent soil erosion. Trees attract rain and due to the lack of rain caused
by deforestation rivers and lakes are drying up. We also pour our sewage in the water. Factories and
industries pour their waste directly into the rivers and lakes. We dig boreholes and wells very near pit
latrines and this is not clean. In Mombasa septic tanks are dug up to the water level and because of
shortage of water, people dig boreholes and use this contaminated water, which causes cholera, dysentery
and diarrhoea. People also throw rubbish and garbage ion the water. We do not dispose of garbage in
82 acceptable environmentally friendly manner. People also wash their clothes, have a bath, wash their cars
in water, which will later be used by other people for drinking. We also waste water by not reporting pipe
burst, we do not report theft of water and we do not use it conservatively.

To improve our water supply we must stop deforestation, we should build dams, dykes and gabions
and steps on steep hills. We should take to court people who pour their sewage into rivers and lakes.
We must all report any wastage of water and we must not throw rubbish in the water. We must not
allow anybody to dig any boreholes near pit latrines. We also must not dig septic tanks till the water
level and we must warn people not to drink untreated borehole water. Strict laws must be passed to
ensure conservation of our forest and to stop disposal of factory waste and sewage into rivers and
lakes. The penalties for breaking these laws have to be harsh and the laws must be enforced.
Lastly we should educate people on the importance of water conservation. This education should
start at the primary school level. People who actively take steps to conserve water and make it
available should be rewarded.I hope with the education of people and strict laws on conservation of
water more people will, with time have clean piped drinking water.

Anisa Noorani, Oshwal Academy, Mombasa


Gaurav Girish

Mansukh D.Valeria
Crystal clear purity,
That sparkles in the warmth of the sun,
On which reflections of objects near,
Are visibly on its smooth surface

Deeply refreshing,
Thoroughly cleansing,
In the body through and through
As it smoothly runs down.

To many it isn’t much,

Simply something that just is,
Often taken for granted,
Wasted, and seldom appreciated.

Yet to the begger and victim of war,

To the homeless child,
And one afflicted by famine,
It’s a treasure to die for. 85
With cracked lips and drooping eyes,
Snuggled at a corner,
Emaciated and dehydrated,
For want of water, precious water.

Mother Africa wails,

For the death of her children,
And scoffs at the ignorant,
Who mindlessly pollutes water?
She exalts the humanitarians,
In earnest appreciation for their aid,
For her dying children,
Water – two billion are dying for it.
For every drop of water wasted,
A child losses their life for lack,
For every drop of water saved,
A child smiles, eyes mist with joy
Many crave for it,
Souls are dying for it

Monica Mugeci Kiarie, Kenya High School


Neha Sharma, Oshwal High School

Like precious silver
They search but do not find
Yet like brainless storms, the ignorant put top waste.

He walks into his bathroom,

Turns on the tap and leaves it running,
For alas! The ignorant man has forgotten something,
“Honey, bring me my shaving cream!”
He storms,
“In a minute, sweetheart.”
There it goes down the drain,
The precious resource that could save someone’s life today,
The precious resource that could aid a dying child today,
The precious resource that could revive a drought stricken nation
But still like brainless storms, the ignorant put it to waste.

He cuts down trees,

Not realizing the destruction of a watercatchment area.
88 He pollutes the water,
Not realizing its fitness for consumption.
This ignorance will kill us dear brothers,
This ignorance will draw our graves
For we only listen but do not practice
Just like the brainless storms, we ignorantly put it to waste.

I call upon all mankind,

I put forth a pledge to you
Let us learn to conserve our water
And save the souls that are dying for it.
Let us save the nations that crave for it,
Yet cannot find it.
For it may be in abundance to us, but to others like gold
Yet like brainless storms, we still put it to waste.
Hello! Why is the blank look on your face?
Why turn to look at your neighbour?
It is you I am talking about!
The remedy lies in our hands,
The initiative is upon each one of us,
So, tell me dear brothers,
Tell me,
What is your choice?
Will you conserve the water or watch two billion die for it?
Think about it.

Midred Okwatta, Kenya High School


Riddhi Patel, Arya Vedic Secondary School

All living things on earth need water. We cannot live without water. The sources of water are rivers,
lakes, oceans, seas, streams and the rain. Water has many advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages are very important to our lives. Water is our daily need. We use it at home and also at
industrial areas. Water is mainly used for drinking, bathing, cooking, washing clothes, and washing the
dishes and others. In industries, it helps in the mixing of certain chemicals. Without water, we would
be smelly and thirsty. Industries will not be able to manufacture their products without water. They
will lose a lot of their income and would have to close down. Plants also need water for photosynthesis.
Photosynthesis is the process by which plants make their own food in which we eat to get the energy.
The plants would also rot because of less water for their food and growth.

Water has its disadvantages. When it rains heavily, rainwater destroys the natural features. The trees
and other plants are uprooted and blown away by the wind. Large trees fall on top of our houses and
destroy them. Heavy rains bring floods on top of our houses and destroys them. Heavy rains bring
floods, which kill many people every year. Floods cause soil erosion. This is because rainwater carries
away the topsoil.

Through human activities, we pollute the water. We make it very dirty and impure. This affects
almost a fifth of the world’s population. Water pollution has already done great harm to animal and
plant life. Pollution of water becomes unfit for animal and plant life and is a danger to our health.
If we drink polluted water, we can get diseases. These diseases can be typhoid or cholera. These
diseases may lead to death.

Our wastes are polluted in many ways. When industries throw their sewage and industrial wastes into
water bodies. When ships are sailing, they spill oil due to accidents or bad weather. When humans and
animals excrete by the river wastes would make the water foul, smelly and impure. These wastes might
be having toxic chemicals that are very dangerous to aquatic life. When oil from ships spill over water
bodies, many kinds of fish die and nearby sea beaches become unfit for bathing.

Water pollution can be controlled. Heavy fines must be imposed on industries that throw their
wastes in water. Before harmful wastes and sewage are released into streams or rivers, they should
be treated chemically. Then the purified water can be allowed to run into the water bodies. Those
who are responsible for the spilling oil with their ships should be made to pay for the removal of the
oil spills. Latrines should be built so that humans can stop excreting along the rivers. Dumping of
trash in water bodies should also stop. The government must provide bins to all communities.
Many people in Africa lack water because they have drought in their countries. Water should be
supplied to everyone who lacks it. This is because without water, we cannot survive. If we work
together as one, we can save the water. We can make a difference in this world.

Natasha Omondi, Malezi Preparatory School


Hiren Jayraj Vara

Water is a colourless odourless liquid that has definite volume. We as human beings believe that God
created everything including water. Water occupies two thirds of the earth’s surface. Ninety seven
percent of it is salty water, two percent is frozen and only one percent is available as fresh water.

Water is very important for us because it is part of our daily needs. It is very useful and on the other
hand it is also very dangerous. Water is useful in that, we use our clothes and even washing our
hands after visiting latrines. It is used for irrigating our shambas during drought, for generating
hydroelectricity, for transporting goods and people from one lace to another using boats and ships, it
promotes hygiene i.e. we use it in bathing and washing our clothes which keeps us clean and healthy.
Our bodies contain water for about ninety percent. It is helpful for our bodies because it removes
waste matters from our bodies during excretion.

Water is also harmful, as I have explained above. When the rain falls, it washes away the chemicals
from our shambas into rivers or lakes. As they accumulate they cause great algal growths and cover
the water preventing light penetration especially to the bottom. This causes death of those plants
that grow in the deep ocean parts together with the fish that they feed. Soil that has been eroded is
carried and washed off into the rivers killing marine life. Organic wastes from raw sewage decomposes
and the pathogenic bacteria it contains uses up all the oxygen while rotting ameliorating availability
of any for the aquatic organisms which in turn die off. 93
The biggest problem currently affecting water is pollution that spreads harmful substances in water.
It results mainly from human activities. Such activities include urinating in the water, dumping
waste materials like bottles. Chemicals from our shambas are washed into the rivers that cause a lot
of pollution. Chemicals from factories are drained in water and also cause pollution.

As a result, pollution causes a lot of problems to man. After it has occurred, we normally do not have
enough food because the aquatic organisms, which are our source of food, are killed. If we drink
polluted water we get diseases such as cholera, typhoid that are killers. Skin diseases like scabies are
also common in polluted waters.
Why do we pollute the water that is our source of life? We ought to conserve the water. Water
conservation means not misusing or mismanaging the water. Ways we can conserve water include
afforestation of dwelling places. We should abstain from excreting in water and avoid dumping
organic substances. We should also recycle dirty water.

In conclusion, we should encourage the citizens of different countries to come together and
conserve water just as our great grandparents did. We should thank God for giving us water freely,
by conserving not polluting it.

RuthAwino, Bar Union Primary School


Riya Chotai
Water you call me. But do you exactly apart my chemical composition Know what I am? What do
religions teach about me in reference to mans creation –What do the Quran and the Bible say about
me? -Well you might have forgotten the teachings of these books, but what about your modern
children, I mean the scientists don’t they communicate their findings to you? -Fine they might be
appalled by what I am actually and decide to play dumb. But still the others are you still so myopic
that you don’t understand me? –I mean my importance!

Have you ever thought a world without me? I mean a world without a world. Ponder at the absurdity
of the statement! I am the world itself I actually make up the world.
Me water I am life. Children of Aden, I’m I demanding more than I deserve? I am not complaining but
it is the lives of those billions of you who are dying because of the negative changes in my quality
and quantity that I find the necessity of demanding a change in your approach towards me.

Children of Aden have you forgotten that these plants whose products you rely on for your survival are
my products? You can’t do without them! Can you do without me? Not only do I enable these plants
to provide food but I also enable you to absorb it into your tissues.

Why do plants need me within your cells? What’s the difference between a hungry baby and a
96 thirsty adult? Where does your wisdom evaporate in my absence? A thirsty man yelps in the same
way a hungry baby does when its mother is away.

Don’t you see my lack of resistance to your demands? I change into any form so that you can achieve
your goals! Don’t you use me to generate electricity that adds to your earthly prosperity?

These are some of the many uses to jog your memory; otherwise my roles are too numerous to be
mentioned. Industry, agriculture, at home during birth and death just to name a few. Despite my
manifold uses children of Eden it is sad to admit that you are making me unable to maintain your

Not only do you misuse me but you also destroy my habitat and at the same time you expect me to
serve you? How? Many of you are shouting from the bottom of abysses in the deserts asking for my
help but they have chased me to so distant places that I can’t help them. And should you not change
your attitudes towards me the story will not be confined to few millions but the whole billions of
the earth.
Industrialist! Wealth and opulence you may fish for but don’t forget to use your brains properly!
What you dump into my habitats makes me rot from within. Please minimize those injurious wastes.
I am the backbone so don’t overdo it lest the whole wave including you get out of sight.

Farmer! The chemicals you apply to your crops poison me and I in turn poison the dependant living
matter including you. Who’s guilty of the heinous murder? What a big mess children of Aden, Can
you drink from the same bowl you have dumped these chemicals? Leave nature to reign or change
the nature of your chemicals!

Oh! Lumberjacks the erosion of soil is burying me alive! Hence you go and we come after you
forming a death chain. The wealth you follow but can you settle without me? Please change the
axe-formula of tree felling to save the millions of you that need me.

The Motor guys! You suffocate me on my way to the sky. Please allow me peaceful landing on the
planet so that I aid those who greatly require me. Your gases such as sulphur dioxide are not my
friends. So please try to minimize the emission of these gases into the atmosphere so that I can help
the millions of Adams children who need me.

Some of you I wonder with them, they bring their order to my homes and again carry me to their
homes in buckets. Is this foolishness or madness?
Please don’t sicken me with your toxic wastes so that I attend to these millions of you who are
beckoning me.

Adams sons and daughters are you happy with you use me in your daily activities? Please economize
on my use so that I can serve those who need me.

Join and support those of you who are trying to conserve me. I wish you wisdom.

Mohamed Salat Mursal, Ifo Secondary School


Mwangi John Rubura

All eyes were set upon the sky. But the sky was cool and blue. No cloud could be traced neither near
or far. Father, mother and the child could not hold back their tears and their cry was loud. Oh, my
God of the heavens, please have mercy and send rain unto us that we may at least get water. Corpses
and carcasses could be seen all over. People had died, the land was dry and barren lakes were dry,
seas, oceans, boreholes, springs and artesian wells could not offer even a single drop of water. God’s
anger was upon planet earth. He had denied them a necessity they could not do without just because
they had misused it.

All over the world, people have taken water for granted yet if taken away, we cannot do without it. People
have become so ignorant. People have become so ignorant of their deeds such that the major water
pollutants are the human activities. We take our animals to the river to drink water; the animals not only
drink there but there also urinate and defecate. The water gets dirty yet someone else somewhere else
down the valley relies on the river water for consumption. On drinking the water, typhoid, dysentery and
other waterborne diseases become endemic and many people’s lives are lost.

We wash our clothes there, bathe there, wash our vehicles and so on but at the end of the day, many
people who consumed the water are left dying. The irony being that some of the dead, end up being
our close relatives.

Hey! Lets be a bit civilized, let’s get pipes and hence, piped water from the rivers, lakes and catchment
areas to our doorsteps and in our houses and by this we will be minding our neighbors welfare and
reducing the death rate.

Our industries are doing us more harm than good. But do industries have control over us? Of course
not and so man is to blame. Why do we lead the outlets with industrial wastes to rivers, lakes and
water catchment areas? The water becomes unhygienic, it has chemicals that are harmful to human
health and to the family that relies on the water for consumption because death takes them all and
too bad for the country, too bad for the world because with each passing day, it looses the young
energetic men, the old with their wisdom and the child who is an asset to the nation.

My dear brethren, it may sound hectic but it saves a lot to have a proper way of disposing off industrial
wastes. We can have a centralized place where all the industrial wastes are refined and the sewage
purified before release to water bodies. In reality there is no need to have lots of money with no one
to share or have fun with especially due to their death of skin diseases.
Our vehicles are good since they ease our transportation worn but with one that’s always releasing
excessive exhaust fumes, Id prefer to do without it. Come on! Let’s be realistic, from this exhaust
fumes, carbonic acid causes acidic rain. This rain is darker in color and damages all forms of life on
earth be it animal or crop life. Don’t be ignorant we are digging our own graves.

Together we can ban the cutting down of trees. Lets join hands and plant more trees in our
environment because trees attract rain and bring in water. Trees also protect our water catchment
areas. With all these in, Gods anger will not be upon us and the fear of the parents and child over
water scarcity and desertification will not be there.

All in all, conservation and management of water resources calls on the effort and good will of
every one on earth. There are people dying for water and if you really care to live, lets make our
environment a better place not only for you but also for the entire human race and me.

P. W. Mara, Navigators Academy Girls’ High School


Rita Chotai, Oshwal High School

Water, Water, Water,
Precious water,
Sweet and delicious to the swollen tongue,
Cool and satisfying to the dry,
Perfect after a hard days work in the field,
Under the scorching heat of the sun,
That burns one’s back as she bends over her work,
Sweet water.

All of a sudden drip, drip, drip,

The tap have gone dry,
The once boreholes full of water,
Now empty, save liquid, mud,
The heat of the sun intense and unbearable,
102 And the plants in the field begin to wither,
All that was once green is gone,
Gone1 Sweet water is gone.

Off in search for water,

Travelling from Far East to far west,
Only to find less than enough water
For a days work,
The journey back home longer than usual,
Neck bent due to weight of the gourd,
Well balanced on the head,
Knees weak due to exhaustion,
Only to arrive home with half a gourd of water,
Sweet water.
With not enough water,
Washing and cleaning is close to impossible,
Germs are spread and people fall sick,
Mothers, fathers and worst hit children,
Are attacked by fatal diseases,
People begin to die one by one,
All because of water,
Sweet water.

We need water in our lives,

It is such a shame to see that,
Despite the suffering of people,
We still misuse water with no concern for others,
Don’t just stand there and watch this happen,
Take action now and make a difference now,
Oh! Sweet water

Mercy Birgen, Kenya High School


Makario Assai
It creates a scenic splendor,
Of the green valley,
Winding in sentences of liquid,
That creates a scintillating sparkle,
Over the ramifying falls,
Giving a tantalizing flow that,
Identifies the exquisite nature,
Of our lovely motherland

Water is the source of life,

As it flows consistently,
Cleaning and cooling the body continuously,
It nourishes and replenishes persistently,
Making it young and jovial,

Water illuminates our universe,

Water keeps my country green,
Expediting our industrial revolution,
Keep crops growing ready for the monster markets?
Fascinating from a far look, magnetizes the world,
To take a scenic trip, promoting touring industry.

Water my spiritual bridge,

Links me to the heavenly hosts,
As my body soaks in it,
It cleanses all my sins,
Filling me with power,
And seals my covenant,
With my heavenly father.
Safety it gives to my motherland,
As it spreads its adverse boundary,
To the east, west, north and south,
Keeping me safe and secure at home.
We proclaim agriculture
The backbone of our economy,
Forgetting the precious fluids that laminates it,
Water is the key to survival,
Yet its road to hell widens wider,
From water to polluted waters.

Dear friends and relatives,

Sisters and brothers,
And to my lovely parents,
Do you need life or death?
Let’s protect the essence of life,
For it’s the key to survival

Sharon W. Olang’, Kenya High School


Akshar A. Patel, Kisumu Junior Academy

Water my Beloved
My beloved has no end,
He flows all over the world
And still remains with me
He never leaves me
Water, my beloved

In the morning
He gives me a morning kiss to wake me up,
In the afternoon he caresses my body to cool it,
At night he soothes and lulls me to sleep
Water, my beloved

He quenches my thirst when I’m thirsty

He takes care of my skin as if it were his own
108 Making it smooth and soft as velvet
Lovely to behold
Water, my beloved

His touch is like that of a magical wand

Plants shoot up at his touch
He takes care of them and natures them as if
They were his children
He does not let them die
Water, my beloved

He makes the world look beautiful

As he flows from the highest mountains
He is like a sovereign king,
Majestic and beautiful to behold
Water, my beloved
He whispers sweet nothings
As he flows through the landscape
As he oversees his kingdom
He is a king as well as a faithful servant
Water, my beloved

As many as his strengths may be

He has his weaknesses
He kills my loved ones when he is mad
He fails to oversee his kingdom
He allows his subjects to die
Water, my beloved

Without him I would die

Without him his subjects would die
Without him plants would die
Without him there would be no kingdom
Without him we would live in a dirty environment
Without my beloved, where would we be
You give life
You give us strength to go on
You are priceless
Nothing can be compared to you
You are my beloved
I love you.

Keziah Uimbia, Kenya High School

110 Chapter 5


A hot topic isn’t it? Yes it is .Do you what will happen to this world if all the ice melted? Rivers would
overflow and start flooding. Many lives will be in danger. Farms and humans will suffer because
all the ice will melt into water and the extra water will destroy farms and some people can die.
Houses poorly constructed can be destroyed. First of all why will ice melt? Don’t know? Due to
global warming. Global warming refers to gradual increase in temperature, which is caused with
green house gases. The green house gases are carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, chlorofloro carbon and
methane. The green house gases allow heat from the sun to reach the earth but trap some of it.
The trapped heat causes the warming effect on earth. If global warming continues at the same rate
then the planet earth would face worse fears, like polar ice caps and glaciers would start to melt
as temperatures increased, melting ice would cause the sea level to rise, low lying areas would be
flooded, more violent storms and extreme weather might occur, hot regions would become hotter
and desert would spread, and some plants and animals would become extinct and many more. If you
don’t want the nightmares to happen then here are some of the steps you may take; use renewable
energy sources like solar energy, solar energy is cheaper than non-renewable and can be used over
112 and over again. Another example of renewable energy source is tidal and waves, you can use it
to make electricity. Renewable energy sources don’t contribute to any type of pollution, they are
cheaper, can be used over and over again. Non-renewable contribute a lot to pollution which leads to
global warming and unsafe, unhealthy and unpleasant environment. They are expensive and get used
up very fast. Other ways which global warming can be reduced is to reduce use of aerosols (sprays),
which produce a lot of chlorofluoro carbons. Limit use of fossil fuels; use renewable energy sources
like HEP, winds and wave, solar, geothermal. Plant more trees as plants take in carbon dioxide which
is the main contributor to global warming; keep a policy that if any one cuts a tree you should plant
two more, and you should encourage, use of public transport. For example if forty people use one
bus only little smoke will be produced but imagine if forty people use private cars! SO HUMAN BE




The Earths climate has changed a great deal in the recent past .Ice plays a critical role in shaping the
planet’s environment .As ice disappears the earth retains more of the sun’s heat .As the earth warms
up, ore ice melts up thus declining ice strengthens global warming.

Global warming results in unwanted increase in the overall temperature of the Earth. Human activities
associated with industrial Revolution have also changed the composition of the earth’s climate .The high
release of greenhouse gases mostly from burning of fossil fuels has caused the temperatures to rise.

Natural systems such as forests and oceans may be affected. Agriculture could cause flooding and
drought and could lead to food shortages in most parts of the world and this will greatly affect
countries which rely on Agriculture to boost their economy.

Diseases are likely to spread more easily due to rise in temperatures. Human activities are also causing
greenhouse gases to build up in the atmosphere; theses are gasoline, oiland coal. Which when burnt
114 is released into the atmosphere.

As climate and weather patterns alter, the homes of plants and animals all over the world will change
.If the ice in the arctic melts; polar bears and seals will have to find new grounds.
The potential consequences are profound .The question therefore is not weather climatic conditions
are changing but what we can do about.

These challenges can be reversed in many different ways for instance: -

• Global experiments should be minimized or carried out with a lot of care to avoid destruction of
the ozone layer
• Alternative sources of energy can be used e.g. wave energy, solar energy or wind energy, which
does not release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
• By replanting forests which take in some carbon dioxide and stop it building up in the atmosphere.
Floating rafts can produce electricity from the motion of the waves.
• Dumping of waste thoughtlessly into our waterways as if they are infinite in their capacity to
hold rubbish poisons fisheries and contaminates our waters leading to great health hazard.
• Renewable energy thus geothermal and bio energy are effective ways to reduce global warming
emissions since the burning of fossil fuels release large amounts of carbon dioxide.
With reduction of emissions from greenhouse our environment will be saved. The longer we take to reverse
the situation the more irreversible damage will be done .We therefore have no choice but to ACT NOW!!



Naylee Nagda, OSHWAL Academy, nAIROBI

Atmospheric scientists have predicted that due to global warming, the temperatures have increased.
They predict that unless dramatic actions are taken global temperatures will continue to rise by 1.4
Celsius to 5.8 Celsius. Although such an increase may not seem like a great difference, during the last
ice age, the global temperatures was only 2.2 Celsius cooler than it was in 2004.

The consequences of such a modest increase in temperatures may be devastating. Already scientists have
detected a 40% reduction in the average thickness of the arctic ice. As the Northern hemisphere will heat
up, Northern and mountain glaciers will shrink, some quite dramatically, and less ice will float on northern
oceans. They also predict that areas receiving minimal amount of snow may not receive any amount at all.

During an ice age, water withdrawn from the ocean is held on land in ice. Later when the ice sheet
melts, the water returns to the sea causing the sea level to rise. If all the ice held in the ice caps and
glaciers of Antarctica and Greenland today were to melt, sea level would rise by about 70m. Sea
levels are rising today, though gradually.
116 As the temperature warms up, the surface layer of the ocean warms up as well, expanding in volume
and thus raising sea level. This warming will also melt much glacier ice, especially around Greenland,
further swelling the sea causing a eustatic rise in sea level. The sea level rose 10-25 cm in the 20th
C and scientists predict that it will further rise by 9-88cm in the 21st C. The rise contributed by the
melting causes flooding in low-lying areas.

Plants and animals will find it difficult to escape from or adjust to the effects of warming. Under global
warming many animals would tend to migrate towards the poles and up the mountainsides. Towards
higher elevations and many plants will shift their ranges. In many places, however humans will prevent
this shift. Animals and plants unable to propagate towards the poles fast enough may disappear. With
raised sea levels and flooding many animals will drown and many plants destroyed. Others may overcrowd
terribly around the poles. Humans also moving towards the poles may kill animals for more space.
The only advantage that melting ice would have is the increase in fresh water with more water (fresh)
the salinity of many oceans and seas would decrease. This would encourage more agriculture.
We must also know what is causing this melting. Global warming done by green house gases causes
it. To reduce heat, we must reduce the emission of these gases. I don’t want to live in a baked earth
with no ice. Do you?




List of Contributing Schools
Aga Khan Academy, Nairobi
Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa
Alliance Girls High School
Allidina Visram High School
Aquinas High School
Arya Vedic School
Buruburu Girls High School
Changamwe Secondary School
Chavakali High School
Emesa AIC Secondary School
118 El- Nino Primary School (Dahgahley Refugee Camp)
Friends School Kamusinga
Ifo Sec School (Dahgahley Refugee Camp)
Jalaram Academy, Kisumu
Kaimosi Girls High School
Kapropita Girls Secondary School
Kenya Girls High School
Kisumu International School
Kisumu Junior Academy
Kisumu Senior Academy
Kosawo Primary School
Light Academy
Limuru Girls High School
Lions Primary School
Loreto Convent School, Valley Road
Lugulu Girls High School
Lwanda Magwar Secondary School
Magena DEB Primary
Malezi School
Mama Ngina Secondary School
Melvin Jones Lions Academy
Moi Tea Girls Secondary School
Mosocho Academy
Muslim Girls Secondary School
Nairobi Academy
Nairobi Jaffreys Academy
Oshwal Academy
Oshwal High School
Parklands Arya Girls High School
Peace Junior Academy
Peponi House Preparatory School
Precious Blood Secondary School
Premier Academy
Rae Girls Secondary School
Riara Springs Academy
SCLP Samaj School
Shimo La Tewa High School
Wajir Girls Secondary School