Bungoma Environment and Land court Judges led by Justice Boaz Olao in coordination with the forestry department led the residents of Musikoma village in a tree planting ceremony as a way of maintaining the environment.
The ceremony brought together numerous magistrates from the judiciary, representatives from the office of the county commissioner, chiefs and assistant chiefs together with Nyumba kumi elders in what was termed as ‘greening the county.’
Greening the county was a term used to encourage the residents to plant more trees not only as a way of maintaining their environment but also as a way of helping the national government to achieve its ten percent forest cover.
According to the NEMA report nationally, the country has only achieved up to 7.5% being left with a deficit of two point five to achieve its ten percent forest cover.
Speaking during the function, Justice Olao said most of the people are reluctant when it comes to environmental cases whereby people are afraid of reporting those who pollute the environment through the emission of raw sewer and many other ways.
“Whether it is your landlord or your employer, always be free to report him or her to us when he or she pollutes your environment because the constitution entitles all of us to a clean environment,” Lady Justice Jemimah Keli added.
On the other hand, the county forest conservation director George Wara lauded the judges for their determination in handling forest related cases which includes the Mt Elgon forest and many more.
Wara also said that the county forestry department is determined to plant three hundred hectares of forest cover in the Mt Elgon Forest.
“We shall work closely with the environment and land court, NEMA, Kenya Forest Service and others to ensure we reach our target,” added Wara.
According to him, the climatic changes that are being experienced in the county can only be dealt with by increasing the county’s forest cover.
According to Justice Olao, the tree planting ceremony was organised in preparation for a huge ceremony to be held in Kisumu in October this year that shall mark ten years since the establishment of the Environment and Land court in Kenya.
“This court is organising ceremonies in all counties in preparation for the mega event in Kisumu that shall be presided over by the Chief Justice Martha Koome,” Justice Olao added.
Speaking to KNA, Keli said most of the people only associate the environment and land court to land disputes, yet it is also constitutionally mandated with environmental affairs.
“We also chose tree planting because maintaining the environment is also part of our mandate as a court that was established under the Kenyan constitution chapter ten known as the judiciary,” justice Olao added.
By Mwangi Oliver