The Environment and Land Court (ELC) in Tharaka Nithi County has planted over 200 trees in Chuka girls’ high school to mark their 10 years of operation in service.
The ELC was created in October 2012 consisting of 15 judges that operated around 10 counties after which it was introduced to other counties five years later.
The land court celebrated the milestone in partnership with Equity bank, KCB bank, Law Society of Kenya (LSK), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and Khetia’s supermarket.
Speaking during the ceremony, Chuka high court Judge, Lucy Gitari, said that before the initiation of ELC, High Court had to deal with all cases including land, causing a backlog and delay of giving justice.
“In 2010 the Constitution allowed for the formation of the environment and land court in all counties and enable us bring justice closer to the community and deliver verdicts faster,” she said.
Judge Gitari expressed that in collaboration with the County Commissioner office among other key stakeholders, the land court has managed to solve land and environment cases such as illegal charcoal burning faster.
Additionally, The ELC Justice Charles Yano said that they are working on increasing tree planting events to boost forest coverage in the county.
“This is just the beginning, we are planning to create such events to increase tree coverage in the county and country,”
Tharaka Nithi County Commissioner (CC) Norbert Komora, who also participated, said that Kenya is aiming to achieve a 20 per cent forest cover by 2030 which currently stands at 12 per cent.
“There are places with little or no forest cover, especially the lower parts of Tharaka Nithi which are affected by drought. We need to plant more trees,” said the commissioner.
He cautioned those cutting down trees for illegal charcoal burning, noting the government will take action against them.
“There are people cutting trees without replacing them, others are using them for illegal charcoal burning. Let them take note, we will take action against them,” he said.
On her part, County forest conservator Ms Joyce Nthuku said that they are aiming on working towards attaining the 20 per cent forest cover and urged residents to continue planting and maintaining trees.
“To have trees is not just planting, it is growing and maintaining. The president during the Mashujaa day directed us to target the 20 per cent forest coverage by 2030 and we are working towards that,” she said.
Ms Nthuku noted that trees are critical as they can be used in many sectors of the economy.
“Trees are critical for our economy as they can be used from cosmetic industries, to pharmaceuticals, irrigation and other sectors,” she said.
The conservator also warned against cutting down trees for illegal charcoal burning and grazing which is posing a great hazard to the environment.
By Sharon Gitau