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Valentine roses pose green problem

world Updated: Feb 15, 2011 01:19 IST
Rebecca Smithers
Rebecca Smithers
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Consumer appetite for cut-price Kenyan roses for Valentine’s Day is “bleeding the country dry” by threatening the region’s precarious ecology, University of Leicester ecology and conservation biologist, Dr David Harper, warned.

Harper has spent over 30 years researching wetland conservation at Kenya’s Lake Naivasha and said the growth of the flowers is draining the valuable water supply.

Seventy per cent of roses sold in European supermarkets come from Kenya. Harper called on UK supermarkets to show more concern about the health of the environment that the flowers come from.

He warned that the massive scale of UK supermarket promotions of flowers over Valentine’s Day — and subsequently on Mother’s Day — without concern for where or how environmentally sustainable roses can be grown, will just increase the export of water — the scarcest natural resource in Kenya.