More than 82,000 trees have been planted in Kajiado County, since the onset of the long rains, Kajiado County Governor, Joseph Lenku said adding that the target for the county was 115,000 trees.
Speaking in Nairobi, during the launch of National Tree planting day, Lenku said the target for the current rainy season is still achievable, since the residents are still committed to improve the forest cover in the County.
Environmental degradation through destruction of forest cover has contributed immensely to the climate change. The natural disasters we are experiencing across the country, including flash floods and prolonged droughts is due to depleted forest cover, he said.
He noted that Kajiado Country will strive to achieve 10 per cent forest cover, similar to the national government agenda by the year 2022.
Kajiado County Chief, Eco System Conservator, Joyce Nthuku said the county has been affected by drought and shortage of water for many years due to environmental neglect.
Kajiado County has got only 3.5 per cent of forest cover, 21,000 square kilometre, which is too little for the place to be regarded as a water catchment area, adding, places like Maparasha Hills, where several years back was the main supply of water to Ilbissil town, has now dried up with the one in Ngong Hills, failing to produce the intended ratio of water due to incoherent destruction of our forests, she argued.
The Chief environment conservator attributes the destruction of the forest cover to the close proximity to Nairobi and Kiambu Counties, which have a huge demand for charcoal and timber, thereby depleting the forest cover.
Nthuku made her remarks at AIC Child Care and Rescue Centre in Kajiado Central, where she led the residents in planting trees to mark the national tree planting day. Over 30,000 seedlings have been planted in the County’s five Sub-counties, she said.
Kajiado Deputy Governor, Martin Moshisho, speaking during the same event, appealed to residents of Kajiado County to embrace Panda Miti initiative whole heartedly.
He said Kajiado County was among the worst drought-hit counties in the last two years, when almost 200,000 livestock died, jolting the major economic activity for the pastoralists.
He reiterated that tree cover will tend to prevent flash floods that have caused havoc in the County during the ongoing rains, leaving crop farmers with huge loses as crops have been swept away.
Kajiado County Chief Executive Officer for Environment, James Sankale announced that the County government of Kajiado will award institutions that will be found to have nurtured the trees from next year.
The tree planting was attended also by Kajiado County Governor’s wife Edna Lenku, Jane Tobiko, wife of Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry and National administration officials.
The Kenyan Government targets to plant at least 1.8 billion trees by 2022 in order to achieve its ambition of a 15 percent forest cover for the country.
According to the 2015 National Forest Policy, the current forest cover in Kenya is 6.99 percent, which is below the global requirement of 10 percent.
Source: Kenya News Agency