The county government of Uasin Gishu has launched a campaign to increase forest cover in the county by more than 50 percent through sports.
The County Governor, Jackson Mandago said the county will use the introduction of the Eldo-city marathon whose second edition will take place on April 21st 2019 to raise funds that will be used to buy tree seedlings for planting during the rain seasons.
The governor urged every household in Uasin Gishu to plant at least 50 trees this rainy season in order to increase the county’s forest cover.
“If a minimum of 100,000 households plant 50 trees and nurture them to maturity, then we shall be talking about 5 million trees and in two seasons we shall have achieved the required 10 million trees,” Mandago said.
He made the remarks Thursday when the organizers of the event received cheques worth more than Sh.28 million from various sponsors.
The County Government of Uasin Gishu and the Standard group remain the event’s main sponsors with the county increasing their sponsorship from Sh.10 million last year to Sh.15 million.
The Standard group offered full media coverage and a further cash donation of Sh.5 million, while Stanbic bank and Paramount Bank offered Sh.5 million and Sh.3 million respectively.
The governor called on the residents to put more effort in order for Uasin Gishu to close the gap on forest cover from 7.56 percent to the UNEP required 10 percent forest cover.
“We do not need to wait for an environmental disaster in order to conserve our environment,” said the governor.
Speaking on behalf of the marathon’s media sponsor, Standard Group’s CEO, Orlando Lyomu pledged full support in ensuring that the marathon achieves its definitive goal of environmental conservation.
“We are pleased to note that over 50 thousand seedlings were planted through the efforts of last year’s Eldoret City Marathon. It is crucial that our athletes train in a good environment and this will be achieved through good forest cover,” Lyomu said.
According to the office of the Chief Forest Conservator North Rift, Benjamin Kanyili, the region has a 40 – 70 per cent tree seedling success rate from planting to maturity in arid and well-drained areas respectively
Winners in this year’s Eldo-city marathon will pocket Sh.3.5million from the Sh. 18 million prize money.
By Kiptanui Cherono