Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku has ordered a crackdown on charcoal dealers in the county whose activity, he said, was contributing to environmental destruction and desertification.
Speaking after chairing a joint meeting of national and county government officials, Lenku noted that illegal logging and charcoal burning despite being banned was still rampant in the county.
He revealed that national government security and county law enforcement officers would immediately embark on a joint operation to ensure all charcoal dealers and transporters are netted and the illegal trade ended.
“Illegal logging and charcoal burning are among some of the causes of the prolonged drought that we are currently witnessing in the country. A crackdown on charcoal trade which is rampant in the county will be conducted immediately to ensure that the illegal activity is put to a stop,” said Lenku.
Road blocks will be mounted along the Nairobi-Namanga highway to net transporters who ferry the charcoal mostly using motorbikes for sale in towns like Kajiado, Isinya, Kitengela, Kiserian and Athi-River.
The Governor noted that deforestation, sand harvesting and encroachment of riparian areas were contributors to climate change whose impacts had devastated the livelihoods of pastoralists.
He ordered residents living in riparian areas to vacate immediately, adding that the county government would embark on planting a target of one million trees during the expected short rains in March.
“We have committed to planting one million trees this year as soon as the short rains start in March. All locals living in riparian lands should vacate immediately. We want to restore all our water sources,” the Governor added.
The demand for charcoal for domestic use has resulted in an increase in charcoal burning in Kajiado County. A sack of charcoal currently retails at Sh 3000 making the trade lucrative.
Thousands of indigenous trees are felled every year in public conservancies in areas like Maili Tisa, Mashuuru, Il Bissil and Namanga resulting in serious environmental degradation.
By Rop Janet