Towards the Use of Integrated Approach in the Conservation of Nairobi River Basin
This study investigated the potential for integrated conservation in Nairobi River basin. Emphasis was on contributions and perception of stakeholders towards collaborative conservation of the basin's environment. Specifically, the objectives ofthe study were to: • establish level of natural resource use and environmental degradation awareness among residents of Nairobi River basin • identify various groups of stakeholders in the conservation of Nairobi River basin • establish the role and perception of stakeholders in the conservation of Nairobi River basin • determine the potential of integrated approach in the conservation of Nairobi River basin Data was collected by use of questionnaires, interview schedule and observation. The questionnaires contained both open-ended and structured questions, which targeted primary and secondary stakeholder. Primary data was analyzed using descriptive statistics (frequencies, totals, percentages and cross-tabulations) before being subjected to chisquare test and factor analysis to test for independence between observations made and patterns of association, respectively. SWOT analysis (which is analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the conservation team) was performed to identify key critical areas to guide in strategic management of the entire river basin. This study revealed that stakeholders in the conservation of Nairobi River basin broadly include government agencies, non-governmental entities and individual members. Awareness on environmental degradation among stakeholders was high (93.7%) with 85.5% being aware of river/water pollution, air pollution (54.4%), uncollected solid wastes (80%) and soil erosion (50%). These stakeholders make use of various natural resources such as water, vegetation and geo-rnaterials, which often result in environmental degradation due to unsustainable use. The study further showed that conservation efforts by stakeholders are inadequate due to apathy caused by inadequate co-operation. Institutions involved in conservation of the river basin were reported neither to co-operate amongst themselves nor with the public. The study, however, revealed that there is unutilized high potential for integrated conservation of the river basin as expressed by the willingness of both primary and secondary stakeholders to co-operate. Statistical tests using the chi-square technique revealed that the differences observed in responses pertaining to 'aspects of environmental degradation known, natural resource use, conservation activities undertaken and rating of the current level of cooperation are significant at both 0.05 and 0.01 levels of signific~. Factor analysis showed that there is a pattern of association in the rating of factors that hinder implementation of conservation efforts. Supportive and enabling environment factors stand out as important determinant factors compared to policy and institutional arrangements. In conclusion, there is high awareness of environmental degradation among stakeholders in Nairobi River basin, although the efforts by various stakeholders to conserve their environment are inadequate as exemplified by state of apathy expressed by a good number of respondents. There is high potential for integrated conservation of the river basin although this potential has not been utilized. This study recommends that all stakeholders should be involved in the conservation of Nairobi River basin. This can be achieved with the formulation of an integrative, focused and unambiguous environmental policy pillared on deterrent and properly enforced legislative structures.