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Crackdown on charcoal dealers in Kwale intensify

A Kwale county government tipper truck loaded with intercepted charcoal bags being driven under escort into Kwale Police Station. Photo by KNA.

The  Kenya Forest  Service (KFS) has intensified crackdown on charcoal dealers and loggers in Kwale and Taita Taveta counties.

Andrew  Cheruiyot, the Head of the Coast Conservancy said the fight against charcoal burning has been scaled-up in the region in an effort to save nature.

Cheruiyot  revealed that at the weekend KFS rangers accompanied by police officers mounted an operation in Samburu and Kinango areas of Kwale and arrested several people fueling the vice.

He  said among those nabbed in the sting operation was a Kenya Defence Force (KDF) officer and his wife an employee of the county government of Kwale.

“Surprisingly they were using a tipper truck belonging to the county government of Kwale to transport the huge consignment of charcoal which we have confiscated,” he said in a statement.

Cheruiyot  went on, “it is shocking that some rogue public officers are fueling the vice and frustrating efforts to save the environment.”

He  said KFS  will continue with the multiagency operation in the two counties until the wanton destruction of trees for charcoal burning ends.

The  coast conservator  said scores of charcoal dealers were arrested at the notorious Ndala area of Taita Taveta by a team comprising of KFS rangers, police and local chiefs.

Cheruiyot  said the indiscriminate cutting down of trees could spell doom for the environment if remedial measures were not put in place to stem forests from depletion and degradation.

He called on residents to desist from cutting down trees indiscriminately for charcoal and to embrace the culture of replacing lost trees to conserve environment.

On his part, the Coast Regional Commissioner, John  Elung’ata has warned residents against involving themselves in charcoal trade.

Elung’ata  observed that charcoal burning had increased at the coastal region in recent times and was causing environmental degradation of unprecedented scale.

By  Hussein  Abdullahi

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