Kenya’s marine life is increasingly chocked by plastic debris. Flip lops, plastic bottles and nets clutter the white sand beaches, entangling and killing marine animals, birds and fish. In Watamu, local clean up crews collect the plastic and sort it for re-use.
In Malindi, a recycling plant turns the waste into sidewalks, street signs and even beams for an experimental dhow under construction in Lamu. Will the world’s strictest ban on plastic bags begin to turn the tide what’s cluttering our coastline?
A film by Alan Oyugi
Nairobi’s building boom has created an environmental catastrophe in Kenya’s semi-arid eastern provinces. You can’t make cement without sand, often illegally scooped out of riverbeds by an army of workers in Machakos and Makueni countries. After the sand has been carted away by unscrupulous sand harvesting cartels, the rivers dry up or turn into raging torrents during the rainy season. Makueni’s governor is trying to stop it but compares the business to the drug trade, where corruption and threats of violence stymie enforcement.
A film by Samuel Waweru & Humphrey Odhiambo
Imagine treating a 200-pound gorilla that’s broken her leg after falling out of a tree. That’s a routine call for Rwanda’s Dr Gaspard and Gorilla doctors working in Volcanoes National Park. On other days he will treat gorillas hurt by snares, poachers or in fights between rival groups. We’ll go on patrol with the park rangers responsible for keeping this highly endangered species and our close cousin, from disappearing forever.
A film by Novella Nikwigiza & Lucas Rosenberg
In 1970 Kenya was home to 20,000 black rhinos. By 1989 only 400 rhinos were left. They were killed for their horns which are prized in Asia for folk medicine. Even though there is no scientific proof that the raw material of both rhino horns and human fingernails has any medicinal value, a kilo of keratin fetches $60K on the black market. Conservationists say that the only way to save rhinos from extinction is to create a secure habitat for them to live and breed. Ol Pejeta Conservancy, which started with only 4 black rhinos in 1988 now is home to 114. Each of Ol Pejeta's rhinos is protected by rangers and armed guards at a cost of $10K a year. But this expense is part of a comprehensive business plan where wildlife protection has to pay its own way.
A film by Teeku Patel & Amit Ramrakha
With their hunched posture and baldheads, vultures are associated with death. But they are the unsung cleanup crew in Africa. Without them, diseases would spread and the Maasai Mara Reserve with a smell like a slaughterhouse. But in the last 30 years, even African vulture species have declined by over 80 per cent. Pastoralists angered by attacks on their cattle by lions lace the carcasses with poison. 60 % of vulture deaths have been due to poisoning. Follow a team trying to save them during the annual wildebeest migrations.
A film by Noella Luka & Mercy Adundo
The worst drought in decades showed how vulnerable East Africa is to climate change and that people and wildlife will share a similar fate. In the parched northern county of Baringo juvenile elephants were rescued from drying quagmires of mud, endangered giraffes suffered miscarriages, school children had their classes cancelled when rainwater tanks ran dry. But despite these challenges people and wildlife sometimes worked together to overcome the crisis.
A film by Joan Kabugu
Mangrove forests are among the most threatened habitats on earth, disappearing faster than even rainforests. But mangroves are also the coast’s nursery, providing shelter for 75% of commercially caught fish. Kenya has lost a fifth of its coastal forests in 25 years. Laws now protect this critical plant, the one capable of growing on the edge of saltwater. But some locals complain that Kenya’s strict ban against mangrove harvesting has left them destitute.
A film by Faith Musembi.
Geothermal energy, which is a clean low carbon energy source, currently provides half of Kenya’s energy needs. Its importance will keep growing as Kenya’s tries to connect 90 per cent of its citizens to the electric power grid. Unfortunately, most geothermal fields are in National Parks and Reserves and often stress critically endangered bird species. Elsewhere geothermal power plants require the displacement of local people. The film explores the price of power, even for an energy resource that is touted as clean and carbon-free.
A film by Evans Ogeto, Cyprian Ogoti, Marete Selvin
In Uganda bush meat snares are crippling the chimpanzees of Kibale National Park. One in four chimpanzees in the wild has lost fingers or limbs to snares. But Max has survived without both legs below the knee and is taking care of his younger brother after poachers killed their parents. Ugandan primatologist Dr Emily Otali explains Max’s story, and how her anti-snare team is trying to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
A Film by Derrick Kibisi
Kenya experienced one of the worst droughts in memory because critics say, it has cut down its trees. Forests used to cover 30 per cent of the land In pre-colonial times. Now they only occupy 6 per cent of Kenya’s space. Helen and Kenya Mutiso want to teach Kenyans how to grow forests in their own backyard and make money from medicines, skincare products and dyes. It’s part of a nationwide effort to cover 10 per cent of Kenya’s land with trees.
A film by Kevin Njue
The violence that accompanied the 2017 drought in Kenya’s Laikipia County was unprecedented. By the end of the year, over 35 people were killed and millions of dollars worth of property destroyed. The conflicts pitted nomadic cattle herders against landowners, ranchers, and the police. In the continuing series, “The End of the River”, Kenyan investigative journalists from Africa Uncensored track their way through a vicious conflict to the heart of the problem; a dire search for grass that led pastoralists from the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River into restive Laikipia County.
A film by Sam Munia and John-Allan Namu
In the dramatic conclusion of End of the River investigative reporter John-Allan Namu tries to find out who was behind the attacks and killings in Laikipia. Is the violence in Laikipia a sign of things to come in the era of climate change? The series also talks to those trying to find a solution to the crisis, and for the people caught between a drying landscape and a brutal competition for diminishing resources.
A film by Sam Munia and John-Allan Namu
The proposed 1000 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Kenya's remote Lamu county would have severely impacted the people and environment of this pristine region, but it's just been defeated in Kenya's courts. It's a great victory for scientific truth and community activism, primarily organized by the Save Lamu coalition. But will this ruling stand the test of time? Find out more from NTV's Dennis Okari and Robert Gichira and Andrew Tkach.
A film by Dennis Okari & Robert Gichira (Co-produced with NTV)