The Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Felix Koskei today led government officers, private sector and members of the public in Nairobi County in a tree planting exercise that saw a total of 110,000 trees planted in various parts of the county.
Koskei who started the tree planting activity in the company of the Nairobi Regional Commissioner Mr. Katee Mwanza and other senior officers as early as 8.00 am, planted trees at Kasarani Primary School, Morrison Primary School, APTC Utawala, Kenya Wildlife Service and Bomas Beat Forest along Ngong road where he addressed members of the public who had gathered to grace the tree planting exercise.
He said the President is spearheading the 15 billion Tree Campaign, under the banner ‘Kenya’s Green Horizon”, a campaign Koskei noted seeks to increase tree cover in the country from the current 12.1 percent to 30 percent by the target date of 2032.
Speaking at Bomas Beat Forest in Langata Constituency, the Head of Public Service said even though 840,000 trees have been planted to date in Nairobi County under the leadership of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and the Kenya Forest Service, it would require peoples’ own self driven initiative to meet this year’s county target of 1.1 million trees.
“I therefore urge all of us to mobilize families, communities, social chamas, investment groups, church members to plan similar exercises at whatever scale, and once done, update your accounts on the Jaza Miti App to track progress,” he appealed.
Koskei said the tree planting exercise is a testament of the people’s collective dedication to a course that transcends boundaries, and resonates with the essence of the country’s environmental values and commitments.
“Together we embark on a journey that aligns harmoniously with the visionary leadership of our President, and with our Constitutional aspiration of securing our environment, which being our heritage is to be sustained for the benefit of future generations,” he stated.
The Head of Public Service noted that the tree planting exercise that has taken place countrywide should not be construed as a simple planting activity but as the restart of a cultural revolution towards reinstating the values of society towards care and concern for others.
“It should be more than just a public relations exercise, in which we plant, water and walk away. This presidential initiative is a tree growing exercise, following in the green economy strategy,” he said.
He mentioned that the green economy strategy envisions not only the planting of trees, but also the intensive nurturing to maturity, and called upon all Kenyans to ensure that all the trees that have been planted during the exercise bear the shade or fruit for their children’s children.
Koskei also urged all individuals to regularly check on the status of the planted trees grown in partnership with the schools and institutions.
He also commended National Government Administration officers for mobilizing the public, providing the requisite resources and securing the seamless transition of each location’s activities that made the event a success.
Koskei recommended the adoption of a partnership approach with schools, colleges, universities and other such like institutions where there is sufficient manpower to sustain continuous nurturing of trees.
“The strategy not only achieves this target, but also allows us to inculcate this culture among this young cohort, while also facilitating opportunities for social cultural exchanges in terms of mentorship programmes social projects, and scholarships,” he stressed.
He at the same time urged the private sector, especially corporates and magnates to adopt and incorporate the tree planting programme into their respective corporate social responsibility activities, and to explore collaboration and partnership with communities to guarantee achievement of the county and national goal.
“Where necessary adopt innovative approaches such as adopting a recreational park, green space, estate or institution of learning in addition to targeted social projects and plant some tree,” he urged.
Koskei also thanked development partners who continued to support environmental conservation, noting that Kenyans must take action to reverse the adverse effects to lives and livelihoods cause by climate change.
He noted that comprehensive efforts in tree planting yields a multitude of benefits citing climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration, soil conservation, water quality enhancement and regulation of the water cycle mitigating flood, drought risks and air quality.
Koskei added that the comprehensive and integrated approach would fortify Kenya’s commitment to preserving biodiversity, ecological balance, and the enduring health of its environmental resources.
In his remarks, the Langata Member of Parliaments Felix Odiwour urged the Kenya Forest Service to consider employing the youth from Langata area to help in protecting the forests where they would oversee the tree nurseries, planting and taking care of the trees to maturity.
“I will organize several activities on tree planting and environmental conservation and will partner with teams undertaking the programmes so that we can keep our city green,” he added.
Among those who participated in the tree planting exercise included the Secretary to the Cabinet Mercy Wanjau, Principal Secretaries Silvia Museiya and Idris Dokota and the Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura.
By Bernadette Khaduli