If you are a resident of Nairobi ,you have probably more often than not struck in traffic and no matter how early you leave the house, the roads of Nairobi are ever a nightmare .So as you sit in traffic, have you ever wondered why this is the case? Or why Nairobi turns into chaos just from a drop of rain. From the ever flooded streets of people, charcoal block traffic to the mountain of garbage everyone agrees Nairobi is a nightmare to live in. What is sad is that this is not about to end anytime soon. With a population of about 8 million and counting , very soon residents of Nairobi will be breathing recycled air and in a decade or so our beautiful city will be a carbon copy of Hong Kong if some drastic measures are not taken and fast. As our carbon footprints rises with every passing day, now , not only do we have to worry about its devastating effects economically and socially but we also have to think of climate change and its consequences and what it means to Kenya .Ladies and gentlemen do not despair ,there is hope. A new paradigm of planning our cities is here. Eco-planning has all the solutions to Nairobi’s never ending problems. According to Wikipedia eco-planning commonly known as environmental planning or green planning is the process of facilitating decision making to carry out development with consideration given to the natural environment, social, political, economic and governance factors and provide a holistic framework to achieve sustainable outcomes. It endeavours to manage processes in an effective, orderly, transparent, and equitable manner for the benefit of all constituents within such systems for the present and future .Eco-planning involves taking environmental factors into consideration while designing and developing new and innovative products and services. Eco-planned products are more environmentally friendly and have quality that is by no means below standard. Eco- planning means crafting the vision you have, goals and strategies in your community’s planning documents in order to conserve priority habitats and wildlife alongside developed areas, reduce pollutants harmful to human life and well-being, and preserve resources for future generations. Present day , eco-planning includes social and economic development ,regional development ,natural resource management and integrated land use, infrastructure systems and framework.
All in all green plans are meant to be comprehensive management plans that have the view of attaining environmental and economic sustainability that is they are a policy template for sustainability of a regions natural resources for future generations. They were pioneered by countries such as the Netherlands and New Zealand where they have been very successful and have evolved in twenty years to be the most comprehensive environmental policy in the world and most importantly green plans’ long term structure and documented success make them the best tool to manage climate change .Eco-planning has slowly but steadily been gaining popularity with countries such as Singapore, the USA(California),Australia and China coming up with eco-planning blueprints for implementation. Their popularity is growing with not only countries and cities but also business enterprises because eco-planned products are environmentally friendly. Countries are rushing forward to take up eco-planning to deal with the challenge of clean air ,clean water and clean land. Their objective is to ensure that their countries , through sound environmental management to achieve economic development that meets the needs of the future generation . Some of the benefits of eco-planning include reduction in production and distribution costs, contributes to better work health and safety , also eco-planned products and services are designed and built without using toxic and dangerous substances to reduce the negative effects on not only human health but also on the environment and to reduce the emissions of pollutants during use.
As Kenya embraces the Vision 2030 ,it should also formulate eco-plans to develop some of its key economic cities .This eco-plans will highlight our commitment to ensuring Kenya’s environmental sustainability. It will also help to avoid some of the problems cities such as Nairobi are experiencing.
By Sharon Kalegi