Virtual Graduation Ceremony

45th Graduation Ceremony

PhD in ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE


Ecological and Socio-Economic Effects of Brick Making: A Case Study of Sironga Wetland, Nyamira Southsub-County, Kenya

Abstract: Wetlands, estimated to cover 6% of the earth’s surface provide valuable ecosystem services such as water and food to humanity. By filtering out pollutants and trapping sediments, the quality of water is maintained. Wetlands also moderate local temperature and precipitation besides providing habitat for many species of fish, wildlife and wild plants. Despite their recognition as a vital element in the biosphere, they continue to be degraded. In Kenya, wetlands face a number of challenges, the major one being conversion for agricultural land use and human settlement. Brick making as one of the wetlands uses has also put a lot of pressure on wetlands especially in developing countries where bricks are perceived to be cheap and suitable materials for construction. The threats have had a significant impact on the structure and function of wetlands affecting the livelihoods of those who rely on them. The effects are varied and depend on the severity and intensity of pressure on the wetlands. The study was guided by the following specific objectives: to assess the spatial and temporal wetland changes of Sironga wetland from 1987 to 2019; to determine the effects of brick making on biodiversity, to determine the physical-chemical parameters of water quality and to assess the socio- economic effects of brick making in Sironga. Mixed research design was used. Both primary and secondary data sources were collected using semi-structured questionnare, observations, Focus Group Discussions, key informants and interviews. Statistical and descriptive analysis were perfomed using SPSS (Version 13) software. Spatial-temporal changes used satellite images for land cover land use classification while diversity indices were calculated using Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index (H). A total of 39 plant species were identified. Results show that between 1984 and 2019, built up area had increased by 45.43%, farmlands by 59.77%, whereas tree area decreased from 13721 ha to 7977 ha representing 41.86% decline. Brick making had a negative effect on biodiversity. The physical- chemical parameters of drinking water were within the recommended standards and there was a significant difference in socioeconomic status of the households. The study concluded that though the economic status of the households have improved, brick making activities have contributed to a decrease in land cover and biodiversity loss. In view of the findings, the study recommends that there is need for interventions by the County Government of Nyamira such as organizing regular trainings on wetland resources utilization, regulate brick making activities and introduce alternative livelihoods to improve economic status of the households to reduce both ecological and economic loss due to loss of biodiversity.

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