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Leicester leads the way towards a sustainable lake in Africa
Date:11/4/2011

University of Leicester conservation scientists David Harper, Caroline Upton and Ed Morrison (Departments of Biology and Geography) will be developing demonstration projects that might lead Europe towards an ecologically sustainable source of flowers - particularly roses - grown at Lake Naivasha in the Rift Valley of Kenya.

They have been given grants of just over a quarter of a million pounds by two retailers, Coop in Switzerland and REWE-RZAG Germany, to develop and oversee projects that help people and industries at Lake Naivasha to use less water, keep the ecosystem in a state of good health and to enjoy improved access to clean water; a critical issue for meeting Millennium Development Goal commitments.

Both retailers have solid overall sustainability-strategies, of which the procurement of only Fairtrade Roses from Naivasha using sustainable water projects is one part. RZAG is funding this donation through its group project 'Pro-Planet' policy, whilst Coop supports it through its Sustainability Fund - in June 2011 the independent rating agency Oekom Research AG declared Coop the most sustainable retailer in the world.

Kenya is the world's largest supplier of roses, almost all grown around the shores of Lake Naivasha, where Harper has been studying its ecology for 30 years. Flower growing is claimed by many to have caused irreparable damage to the lake, but Harper is clear about the actual causes of lake damage:

Whilst the leaders in the industry comply with internationally recognised social and environmental standards there are a few who do not and pay little attention to waste management and water use efficiency. "Moreover, it's not just flower growing that uses water from the lake. There are comparable groundwater abstractions near the lake for export vegetable production and large single users including the water company that supplies citizens of neighbouring Nakuru".

"Explaining Lake Naivasha's dec
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Contact: Dr. David M. Harper
dmh@le.ac.uk
44-116-252-3344
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert  

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