An environmentalist in Lari sub-county is alarmed at the rate of destruction of trees in private forests and has asked the government to intervene to safeguard natural resources.
Mr. Francis Muhoho said relevant arms of the government assigned to protect the environment should ensure prosecution of all perpetrators of reckless harvesting of natural resources.
He said they should ensure all timber extraction and other forestry-related activities were conducted within the provisions of the law so that the future of the nation is taken care of.
The environmentalist made these remarks yesterday at the Kenya Forest Service during the distribution of tree seedlings to farmers drawn from Kereita in Lari of Kiambu County.
He said all citizens should be entrusted to take care of the environment by planting more trees in their homes and farms.
“I will personally follow up on this initiative to ensure that it is being implemented. We need to strengthen coordination and enhance synergies between all relevant government institutions and environmental agencies to curb the rampant illegal activities,” he said.
He regretted that “Kenya lost an average of over 200, 000 hectares of forests per year between 2000 and 2014. This is both in government and private forests.
He said that there should be regulation of all forest produce as it would help preserve the ecosystem.
“If we want to have a sustainable ecosystem, we must draft proper legislation that regulates the way private sector exploits environmental resources. It is done in developed economies and it can be done here as well,” he said.
Muhoho said that stakeholders were aware that there were still a lot of illegal harvesting of timber across the country resulting in reduced forest cover despite the logging ban.
The destruction of forests, coupled with excessive settlement and other human activities contributed to uncontrolled severe soil erosion, high sediment load and subsequent siltation of water sources, he said.
Muhoho said the trees cut could only be replaced by re-planting, which requires the active involvement of all stakeholders who should also be honest even when the activities are on their land.
Muhoho appealed to traditional leaders to help the Government in mobilizing communities to actively participate in forestry regeneration activities.
He made the remarks as the president hosted the One Planet summit in Nairobi. The summit is an annual gathering of government, corporate and civil society leaders that discuss methods of battling climate change, clean energy such as wind, geothermal and solar.
By Warren Kagombe and Shiroya