Thursday

Lake conservation gets rare boost

BY Naftali Mwaura

The short but diminutive Chinese man in his late thirties could pass off unnoticed trudging along the lawns and well tended pavements within UNEP Headquarters,Gigiri where COP 12 and UNFCC meetings are taking place.

Defying glaring inadequacies such as height and language obstacles within this hallowed precincts where use of high sounding jargon in either English,French or German is the norm -he can hardly utter a word in the said languages,only Chinese; Mr Lou stands tall and beams with confidence to deliver tidings of a mission accomplished.He has just donated a lumpsum $250,000 to UNEP to assist in the the Agency`s initiatives in greening the 2008 Beijing Games and also to fund conservation activities at Kenya`s Lake Nakuru.

He is a consumate businessman-owning a behemoth of Bakery business in his home country.

His Holiland Enterprise Investment has over 600 shops in 60 Chinese Cities.It is the Country`s biggest bakery business with an annual turn over of up to 1.5 Billion Chinese Yuan or around $200 million.

Away from the hassles of running a business empire,Mr Luo has other pasttime that he pursues with equal measure of passion and dedication-photography.

He bought his first camera at the tender age of eleven and has countless times visited Africa for the last five years photographing nature,people and scenic landscapes dotting African Countries such as Botswana,Kenya and Zimbambwe.

Here in Kenya,Mr Luo has visited World class natural attractions like Lakes Nakuru and Turkana-the former is famed globally for being home to rare flamingo birds while the latter is hailed as the cradle of civilization where ancient texts indicates that it happens to be home to the earliest man-Homo sapiens.

Why the two lakes?

Lake Nakuru is important to Luo Photography ventures as it has lately captured headlines with stories about the receding water levels and serious decline in the flamingo population.

Having sampled the beauty of Lake Nakuru and also after being moved by glaring threats to its World famous flamingoes due to fluctuating water levels,Mr Luo decided that part of the donation will go towards intiatives to restore the Lake to its former glory.

The Lake Turkana also captures fervent attention from Mr Luo who describes it as”the cradle of civilization”.

The Lake is currently facing serious ecological threats.As a result of climate change,the Lake is experiencing high precipitation and its waters are drastically receding,this is according to a report by UNEP under a recently concluded Global International Waters Assessment.

Mr Luo has taken photographs of the Lake and had just arrived from the phototaking voyage in a Lake that is sentimental to his desire to see Governments take concrete actions against climate change.

”I plan to come back over and over again in the coming years to take images of the Lake.It will be my personal barometer by which I can measure whether action against climate change is succeeding or failing”,he says with a smile on his face.

Mr Achim Steiner,the UNEP Executive Director who was presented with the donation said “If we are to defeat climate change,deliver sustainable development and eradicate poverty,we need all sectors of the society to step up to the bar”So we need the engagement of the private sector and we need down to earth action by philanthropic and committed Business people like Luo”.

The relationship between Luo and Unep dates back earlier this year when a collection of the Entrepreneur`s photos was exhibited at UNEP as part of World Environment Day cerebrations.

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