Major Contributors to Environmental Degradation
Environmental degradation has been rampant in the county whereby there is massive felling of trees in forests like Kinare forest, leading to high risk of soil erosion and desertification. This has been brought about by increased population pressure and fuel demand by most industries. The development of industries coupled with population pressure has significantly increased the pollution levels including air pollution that the existing facilities are unable to handle. Pollution especially from industries for example: tea factories and coffee industries are real danger to the environment because of disposing effluents into air and the rivers in the county. The poor farming methods, pesticides and chemicals used in agricultural activities have also led to pollution of rivers and the environment. Other environment issues of concern in the county include; the mushrooming of slums and destruction of water catchments areas particularly because of farming on hillsides and on marginal areas.
Effects of Environmental Degradation
The degradation of the environment has resulted in soil erosion and decreased food production. Pollution of rivers by factories may increase water borne diseases. Presence of quarries in some parts of the county like Ndarugu and Kilimambogo has changed the landscape leaving many openings which poses dangers to the motorists and residents. Another challenge is related to insecurity where the openings have been used as hiding places by thugs.
Another area of concern is solid waste management within the County where the established dump sites are located near water bodies and pose great pollution threat. Community attitude towards refuse dumping is very wanting as very few people take seriously responsibility of their domestic waste.
Lack of sewerage systems within most of the urban areas despite the rapid increase in population pose a great threat to environmental degradation. In most of the urban areas residents dispose foul water in open drains which lead to bodies of water and generally pollute the environment.
Climate Change and its Effects in the County
The main effect of climate change in the county is the unpredictability of the timing and amount of rainfall received. However there is no documented evidence on the impact of the climate change in the county and hence the need for a comprehensive study in order to adopt effective strategies to address the problem.
Climate Change Mitigation Measures and Adaptation Strategies
In order to address the effects of climate change in the county, the following measures and strategies should be in place. NEMA should enforce the Environment Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) by ensuring that industries and other stakeholders operating within the towns of the county treat their effluents to the required standards so as to reduce pollution to the environment. All stakeholders should be sensitized to put proper and sustainable environmental conservation measures to make the county environmentally clean. This can be possible through the use of Institutions such as the National Soil and Water Conservation Programme that uses individual farmer extension approach to teach farmers on proper farming methods that lead to reduction in soil erosion and pollution from chemicals.
The County should emberk on elaborate system to construct sewerage system in urban and peri- urban areas. A county landfill should be constructed to deal with solid waste disposal.