The government will involve school children and youths in other institutions of learning to plant trees in a bid to increase the country`s forest cover and mitigate the effects of climate change.
The outgoing Rift Valley Regional Commissioner (RC) Maalim Mohammed said the region alone had about five million children in local schools and if each one of them could be involved in tree planting, it would help a great deal in environmental conservation.
“We have made it a policy for our school children to plant and care for trees under a program dubbed, Adopt a tree,” he said.
Mohammed was speaking at the Naivasha Maximum prison Saturday, where he led civil servants, inmates and other civilians in planting trees to commemorate his 56th birthday.
“In Kenya, we have a tendency of planting trees, only to leave them to die without any effort to nurture them to maturity, but we want to change this trend and ensure that every tree planted in the ongoing campaign survives,” he said.
The RC added that he had constituted a regional committee, which has been cascaded to the local counties and sub counties, up to the grassroots level to oversee tree planting in the area.
“We have also directed our chiefs and assistants to plant at least 3,000 trees in their areas of jurisdiction each season, as this will also help in stemming the effects of climate change,” he stated.
The RC further said they will be working with Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA), Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KURRA) and Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) to include tree planning component in any of their road construction projects.
The administrator also revealed that close to 160,000 trees have been planted in Rift Valley Region since December 21st, when President Dr. William Ruto launched the national tree planting campaign, adding that they had two million tree seedlings, ready for planting.
During the occasion, the president announced that his government had an ambitious plan to plant over 15 billion trees in a five-year duration to ensure the country`s tree cover which currently stands at 12 per cent, moves to over 30 per cent in order to overcome the effects of climate change.
On security situation during the festivities, Mohammed said there was relative calm in the region, save for a few isolated incidences, due to enhanced surveillance.
He said that during the entire exam period that started in late November throughout the festive season, all police officers on leave were recalled to beef up security.
“We instituted a security operation order, which we cascaded down to the counties, sub-counties and beyond, a nd so far we are satisfied that it has worked for us,” he said.
On his part, the Nakuru County Executive for Lands and Environment John Kihagi decried rampant land disputes that were hampering tree planting efforts in the area.
By Mabel Keya