The Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS), Dr. Fred Matiang’i has directed police officers in Kitui to enforce the charcoal production and sand harvesting ban issued by the county government in a bid to protect the environment.
Speaking during a consultative forum after touring the county on Wednesday to assess the Huduma Namba uptake, Dr. Matiang’i decried the upsurge of illegal sand harvesting and charcoal burning and called on all arms of government to curb the vice.
“This ban stands to be enforced by the government until it is lifted by the County Government of Kitui. That is the law and anyone found culpable of the offence shall be charged before a court of law,” said the CS.
In a bid to ensure sustainable green uptake, Kitui County has developed an energy masterplan tapping into the last mile connectivity and renewable energy to stimulate rural economies, County Environment Executive, John Makau has said.
Makau noted that the energy masterplan aims to advocate for and promote use of clean, sustainable, reliable, accessible and affordable energy and to amplify the positive impact of renewable energy on the development of Kitui County.
The County Executive Member in-charge of Environment and Natural Resources says that clean energy for lighting and cooking offers a unique opportunity to accelerate access to electricity through small-scale, off-grid and stand-alone projects, often with simple and cost-effective solutions.
Makau lamented that wood fuel has remained the most important source of energy in Kenya, meeting over 70 per cent of the country’s total energy consumption needs.
“As the primary source of fuel for rural households, use of wood fuels has a major impact on the sustainable development of Kitui County. The lack of efforts with reforestation, unsustainable harvesting, and on-farm planting of wood lots, have often led to soil degradation and deforestation,” said Makau.
In a bid to reverse this trend, the County Environment Executive said that in a gazette notice dated 16 January, 2018, Kitui Governor, Charity Ngilu banned the sale and transport of charcoal and sand in the county.
“Due to the public outcry over the unsustainable exploitation of the natural resources in the County of Kitui, it is notified to the public that with immediate effect the governor has banned the transportation and sale of charcoal and sand outside the geographical boundaries of the county of Kitui and revoked all licenses, permits and any other documentation,” reads the gazette notice.
Makau noted that an average household uses a significant portion of its income on kerosene fuel, yet kerosene use contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and the air particulate emissions generated by the use of kerosene lamps further contributed to household air pollution.
By Yobesh Onwong’a