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Machakos County Plants over 2.7 million Trees

The Machakos County Government has planted over 2.7 million trees in a concerted effort to mitigate challenges of climate change.

Speaking during celebrations to mark the World International Forests Day, the County Executive Committee Member for Water, Irrigation, Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources Engineer Morris Aluanga, said the county government’s projection was to plant 4 million trees in 10 years.

“We have planted 2.7 million seedlings since the inception of our government in 2013, but I believe we can do more than that. The county government’s projection is to plant 4 million seedlings by the end of our second term in office,” he said.

Aluanga who also doubles as the acting CECM for Youth, Sports, Culture and Tourism said the county was however faced with the challenge of climate change, which was a set back to their efforts of achieving the 4 million trees.

“But, we are trying to mitigate that having done 657 boreholes, 4 mega dams and we also want to plant trees along the dams since we have adequate water,” added Aluanga.

“Forests give us medicine, fresh air and water. So, we are passionate and will ensure we conserve and protect our forests together with other partners,” he said.

The county executive said the county had partnered with Isuzu East Africa and Equity Bank which were both supportive in climate change mitigation projects, adding that the county was also approaching other partners to assist them ensure that they met the required forest cover.

“We have factored in lots of resources when it comes to matters of climate change. We have passed all the necessary laws on climate change to enable us to attract funding from the national government and other donors to ensure that we conserve our forests,” he said.

Meanwhile, about 1, 000 seedlings were donated during the commemoration which will be planted at the People’s Park, while the remaining ones will be planted across the county in all the eight sub counties.

“We got the seedlings with the help from donors. The trees will be planted in Mavoko, Mwala, Machakos, Masinga, Yatta, Matungulu, Kangundo and Kathiani sub counties,” he said.

“We expect the rains in the next one week. That’s when we will have an elaborate tree planting exercise in our sub counties,” Aluanga said.

The CECM underscored the importance of forest conservation saying that trees are an important aspect in prompting rainfall which is a great challenge in promoting efficient agricultural practices in the county.

“As the national government, we do partner with various stakeholders including the County Government, Kenya Forest Service and various NGOs to enhance environmental conservation and growth,” said Aluanga.

He revealed that plans of reusing garbage are underway where the county will partner with Kenya breweries for garbage supply to produce energy for their tunnels.

“We want to partner with Kenya breweries which has opened a plant that will be requiring a lot of disposable wastes that can be burnt to produce energy to run their tunnels,” said Aluanga.

Machakos Central Assistant County Commissioner (ACC), George Kubai, urged all environmental conservation stakeholders to make it a collective responsibility of ensuring that the community embraces tree planting with the aim of striving to achieve the government’s forest cover of 10 per cent

He pointed out that forests play a critical role in sustaining human and animal lives since trees increase the amount of rainfall which enhances an appropriate water cycle.

Kubai noted that tree planting also helps in creation of jobs for the youths through nursery creation, which can be a source of income to curb the issue of unemployment among the youths.

The ACC urged communities to come together and utilize the seedlings that they have been distributed to various communities for planting during the upcoming rainy season

Machakos County Forest conservator Mary Mwai, said KFS nurseries and other private entities will provide 1.5 million free seedlings, where she called upon the residents to plant trees widely during the coming long rains.

Mwai noted that Machakos County has been documented to have about 3.4 percent forest cover, but there was need for improvement considering the efforts that have been put in tree planting in the county.

By Rachael Kilonzo and Conceptah Isanya

 

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