A campaign to save Lake Turkana launched


Friends of Lake Turkana, a non-governmental organisation has launched a social media campaign to raise awareness on the dangers faced by Lake Turkana as a result of development projects on the Omo River in neighbouring Ethiopia. The ‘One Million Tweets’ campaign seeks to educate the public on the importance of the entire Lake Turkana Basin, its linkage to the historical and cultural heritage of Kenya and the world at large, and the role it plays to communities that inhabit the area. The campaign is looking at gaining government support in a bid to protect and save Lake Turkana, its environs and its people from the devastating impacts of development projects taking place along the Ethiopian river. Omo River is the prime source of water for Lake Turkana as it provides up to 90 percent of its inflow. Development projects along the Omo River include construction of a ‘cascade of dams’, two of which are complete (Gibe I and II), while Gibe III is in its final stages. The Gibe III dam could cause hydrological changes to the waters of Lake Turkana especially once they start filling its reservoirs. May 2015 is when Ethiopia reportedly plans to begin filling the reservoirs, and this, it is expected, will take up to three years to completely fill. Analysts say during this period the inflow to Lake Turkana will decrease to the tune of 70 percent. “While we recognise the need for development of energy and use of its natural resources by Ethiopia, we also recognise the impact that these ‘developments’ will have on downstreamcommunities. We embrace development; sustainable development at that, which does not disenfranchise communities who depend on their natural environment, and exacerbate conflict,” said Ikal Angelei, Executive Director of Friends of Lake Turkana. She emphasised the importance of conserving the environment for generations. “We are fighting to ensure development appreciates that this generation and that of our children, their children and future generations benefit from the resources and nature that will be availed to them. We cannot do it alone, and that is why we are calling on our fellow citizens to join “The One Million Tweets Campaign,”

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