As Kenyans endeavor to increase the forest cover towards greening the environment, they must take precautionary measures on where and how to plant trees.
According to Engineer Kennedy Ogalo, the Kiambu County Business Manager for Kenya Power and Lighting Company, 60% of power issues emanated from falling trees.
While addressing the Kiambu County Development Implemental Coordination Committee (CDICC) at County Commissioner’s office yesterday, he said that people planting trees should ensure that they plant them away from power lines.
Engineer Ogalo particularly singled out fruit trees, saying that these trees apart from contributing to greening the environment, they were extremely attractive, especially, to the children in the home where they were planted and even visitors.
“Children will be attracted to climb the trees so as to enjoy the fruit from the tree but at times it ends up being fatal as the child could be electrocuted if the tree touched on the power lines and she as he came into contact with the line unknowingly,” said Eng. Ogalo.
He advised that people who wished to plant fruit trees should plant them in areas where they did not come into contact with power lines or transformers. He said they should be located in the middle of the farm where there were no power lines so that curious children did not endanger their lives when they became adventurous.
For people who already have fruit trees under the transformers or beneath power lines he advised that they should be cut down for the safety of the children and any other person in the homes.
The Engineer regretted that there were homes where the transformers for security reasons were covered with tree branches “This is dangerous and anybody who would spot such a scenario should report to the power office so that trained personnel go to the scene to trim the trees for safety measures or cut them down so that they don’t cause unnecessary deaths.
During the meeting members fronted an idea in which personnel from Kenya Power would engage in awareness activities like barazas especially during the rainy season when trees were weakened and could easily get uprooted owing to the pounding rain in some parts of the country.
Ann Macharia, the Director for NEMA in Kiambu told the meeting of an incident in which a wife of her mechanic was electrocuted while hanging her clothes on a line outside her house. She said the hanging line had been erroneously stuck on a power line which she did not know and when she went to hang clothes, she was electrocuted.
On this Engineer Ogalo said he conducted at least 12 Engagements forums annually in which he interacted with public at different venues.
Other officers also engage the public within similar forums where they addressed them on issues like dangers of illegal connections, safety usage of power among other issues which were meant to help the consumers to take care of themselves and their children.
He also impressed on members of the committee to enlighten those in their neighborhood to take precautions by calling Kenya Power personnel in case they spotted any branches leaning on power lines. He said if such an incident was spotted, the safest person to cut down the branches were the trained personnel from Kenya Power and not laymen.
He therefore reiterated that anything touching on power lines should strictly be reported to the nearest Kenya power office and that amateurs on electricity issues should not be allowed to handle as they were endangering their lives.
The issue of vandalizing transformers was also discussed as members felt that laymen could not dare steal anything like oil from the machines unless they were aided with people who had the knowledge of how they looked like.-People were cautioned that they should not attempt to steal anything from the transformers as they were risking their lives.
By Lydia Shiloya