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Administrative officers to spearhead tree planting agenda

Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya has called on the National Government Administrative Officers (NGAO) to lead in tree planting projects to achieve the 15 billion trees target in ten years.

Ms. Tuya said gone are the days the government officials and other dignitaries were planting trees as a public relations exercise, saying the country is moving towards the direction of growing and nourishing trees.

“If only we were serious in protecting the seedlings we have been planting, then we could have achieved more than 50 percent tree cover. The seedlings we plant must be nourished to flourish,” she said.

Tuya was speaking at Naroosura area in Narok South Sub County where she commissioned the restoration of 200 acres of Enkong’u Enkare wetlands during the National Celebrations of World Wetlands Day.

The CS sounded a strong warning to those destroying the environment saying her ministry was extremely intolerant with those cutting down trees illegally.

“We cannot move forward in our efforts to conserve the environment if some other people are illegally cutting trees,” she said, asking NGAO to be very vigilant in guarding the environment by arresting the illegal loggers.

Moving forward, she said, the national government will collaborate with county governments to establish a ‘green army’ that will take care of the 15 billion trees planted.

The move will create job opportunities for the many jobless young people in the country and help to conserve the environment.

The CS said the government is putting in place a framework that will boost the green energy usage in schools and other institutions to reduce usage of firewood.

Already, she said, 5, 000 schools around the country are in the pilot stage of implementing green energy, and the initiative is expected to be cascaded to all boarding institutions in three years’ time.

“What we are doing is very serious, that is why I requested for this day to be celebrated in my home ground so as I can act as an example before moving to preach the same message to other counties since  “Charity begins at home,” she said.

She reiterated the importance of wetlands saying they support a variety of livelihoods and economic activities such as tourism, shipping, energy and fisheries.

The CS was accompanied by Governor Patrick Ole Ntutu, Principal Secretary Environment and Climate Change Engineer Festus Ng’eno and his counterpart in the Department of Regional Development Idris Dokota.

Others present were Narok County Commissioner Isaac Masinde, Chairman National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Erick Mungai, Narok South MP Kitilai Ntutu, Emurua Dikirr MP Johanah Ngeno among other leaders.

During the event, over 6, 000 tree seedlings were planted in the wetland area that is already fenced by the county government of Narok and 8, 000 others planted in the neighboring schools.

Governor Ntutu said the wetland is a major water catchment land in the county which they will conserve passionately for posterity.

He called on the residents to follow the presidential directive and plant trees in their homesteads and schools and ensure the trees flourish.

“The rule we have placed in this county is that all primary school pupils plant a tree and nurture it to grow,” he said, adding that his administration was committed to boosting tree coverage in the county.

On his part, the NEMA chairman said his department has undertaken inventory, monitoring and assessment of wetlands to establish their occurrence and health status.

“NEMA plans to continue with the efforts of ensuring that no effluent is emitted into wetlands and other water bodies prior to meeting set out health standards,” he said.

By Ann Salaton

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