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State warns Malindi residents against charcoal business

The government has warned Malindi sub-county residents against charcoal burning and transportation, saying culprits would be punished in accordance with Kenyan laws.

Malindi Deputy County Commissioner David Lusava said the practice was rampant in Langobaya division resulting in the wanton destruction of indigenous trees that had led to a low forest cover.

Speaking at the Malindi GK Prison farm, where he led a tree planting exercise, Lusava urged the residents to look for alternative sources of income and plant trees to replace those that had already been cut in order to increase the area’s forest cover.

“In this area, we have a great challenge of charcoal burning, especially in Chakama and Langobaya locations. I call upon residents to stop the habit and instead use the current rains to replace the trees that have been destroyed,” he said.

He said charcoal burning and the transportation of the product within and outside the sub-county was rampant due to a shortage of forest rangers but added that the recent posting of new forest rangers would help address the situation.

More than 4,000 tree seedlings were planted during the event that was co-sponsored by the Judiciary in Malindi and the Malindi GK Prison.

According to the DCC, more than 4,000 tree seedlings were planted in Langobaya division and another 1,000 at the Mida Creek.

Malindi Town Ward Member of County Assembly (MCA) Rashid Odhiambo called for the incorporation of county enforcement officers to assist forest rangers in controlling the transportation of charcoal from rural areas to urban centres where the product was in great demand.

“We are aware that that we have inadequate forest rangers. It is my humble plea that the county government is fully involved in the fight against charcoal burning and transportation through the use of county enforcement officers, who are many and know the area better,” he said.

Kakuyuni Ward MCA Morris Dadu Hinzano said he was optimistic that the country would achieve the desired forest cover since there is political good will in tree growing led by President William Ruto himself.

“Politicians have been the greatest impediment in the fight against forest destruction, but since the President himself has shown good will in this fight, I am optimistic we shall achieve the desired forest cover,” he said.

The Sultan of the Bajuni Community Worldwide Mr. Omar Sharrif urged the government to come up with alternative and cheap sources of energy so that wananchi do not continue relying on charcoal and firewood.

“We can give ultimatums and threats, but if there are no alternatives, this fight may not yield much. I therefore urge the government to explore and avail cheap alternatives for charcoal, and this practice will end,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by Malindi community leader Mohamed Famau, who urged the government to create more awareness on the use of gas and electricity as alternatives to charcoal.

He praised President Ruto for creating a holiday for growing trees and said all national days should be used to plant trees instead of people gathering in stadia to be entertained and listen to speeches.

Malindi Environment and Land Court Judge Mwangi Njoroge took advantage of the event to urge wananchi to utilize the court to ensure the environment is protected for posterity.

“We do not exist just to handle land matters, as many people think. We are there to also ensure that the environment is protected; hence I urge you (residents) to come forward in case you find the environment around you is threatened,” he said.

By Emmanuel Masha

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