Mombasa ACK Diocese has embarked on a grassroots tree planting campaign to boost a government plan to expand national forest cover to 10 percent in the country in the next three years.
Bishop Alphonce Mwaro Baya said on Saturday that the diocese was fully in support of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s elaborate plan to attain the United Nations recommended threshold of more than 10 percent tree-cover across the country by 2022.
The President launched the initiative in October, last year in Meru County. Kenya’s current forest cover stands at 7.6 percent.
“We are fully behind the President in the mass tree planting drive to counter the devastating effects of rampant deforestation in the country,” the Bishop said and backed the government ban on logging.
Baya said this when he launched the diocesan tree planting campaign at St. Paul’s ACK Church, in LungaLunga town, Kwale County.
The prelate who led members of the diocesan Mothers’ Union in planting over 1,000 tree seedlings at the church compound, said they intend to plant 50,000 trees in the diocese, this year alone at a cost of Sh1million.
Further, he said the church should not only focus on spiritual issues only but embrace a holistic approach that involves mobilising communities to take action to solve common problems that affect them.
The diocese, he said, intends to plant trees on some of its vast idle land as part of its grassroots investment projects to increase its revenue base.
“We for instance have 130 acres here in Kwale which we are going to put under trees for conservation purposes and as a source of income for the church,” he said.
He said the church has a role to play in environmental conservation in the country besides evangelizing and Christians should lead by example by growing trees on their farms and around homes.
“The church as a social institution along with its followers in their individual capacity as members of the society, have a social and moral duty to take an active role in environmental conservation,” he added.
The Bishop said that forces of greed and corruption were to blame for the illegal activities that lead to wanton destruction of forests warning that the country was staring at a catastrophe if such vices are left untamed.
“Continued destruction of forests will lead to a water crisis and desertification which we are already experiencing and must be stemmed at all costs,” he noted.
The LungaLunga Sub-county forest officer, Mr. Edwin Msachi said many seedlings wilt after transplanting and called on residents to take good care of them for overall success of the aforestation campaign in the region.
He also urged locals to strive to achieve 10 percent tree cover on their farms by planting more trees.
By James Muchai