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KFS working to eradicate the killer weed in Makueni

Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has collaborated with partners in environment to eradicate the invasive Cuscuta japonica plant that is killing other trees in several parts of Makueni County.

Once it has colonised on the host tree, the parasitic plant spreads very fast and extracts water and nutrients from it, and as a result, the tree dries up and dies.

“The most affected tree in Wote town is the beautiful Thevetia peruviana that is an ever green tree in all seasons and which is in real danger of being wiped out,” said the KFS Makueni County Ecosystem Conservator Mr. Evans Maneno during the exercise of removal of the invasive plant by stakeholders on Wednesday in sections of Wote town.

Consequently, Maneno urged the residents to remove the plant which is also known as Dodder physically and burn it saying the use of herbicide appears dangerous to the host tree and to the environment.

“There is a likely danger of the dodder plant being eaten by livestock and possibly affecting them negatively,” added the Ecosystem Conservator while addressing the stakeholders involved in removal of the plant.

He observed that the plant that is an emerging threat in Makueni County perches on other trees and spreads by twining and branching on other plants without any visible roots until the host tree gets damaged.

Makueni Sub-county Deputy County Commission (DCC) Joel Mwangala who launched the removal of the plant said that there is need to conserve the environment to have a clean atmosphere.

“It is our responsibility to keep our environment clean so that we can also avoid contracting diseases that come with poor disposal of liquid and solid waste,” said Mwangala.

Further, the administrator encouraged the residents to plant trees so as to conserve the environment in the county.

Other stakeholders who were present included NEMA, Red Cross, and the County Government of Makueni, South Eastern University and Ricatti College among others.

The exercise was organized by the Makueni County Environment Committee as a buildup exercise in celebration of the World Environment Day on 5th June 22022.

By Patrick Nyakundi

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