NMG, partners participate in Walk for Health and Environment

Wilfred Kiboro

Nation Media Group chairman Dr Wilfred Kiboro (left) joined by other members from Green Blue Foundation, Hindu Religious Service Centre and Kenya Wildlife Services during tree plantation at Corner Baridi Ngong Hills on June 4, 2023.

Photo credit: Kennedy Amungo I Nation Media Group

Nation Media Group (NMG) in partnership with Green Blue Foundation Africa (GBFA) and the Hindu Religious Service Centre on Sunday organised a 12km walk in Ngong’, Kajiado County, for health and environment to raise awareness on the importance of a healthy environment.

The partnership between the three organisations underscores a shared commitment to addressing environmental concerns and promoting sustainable practices.

It came a day after the World Environment Day, which focused on finding solutions to plastic pollution, a pressing environmental challenge facing communities around the world.

Speaking at the event, Dr Wilfred Kiboro, Chairman GBFA lamented over the devastating effects of a severe drought that hit the country last year.

With millions of people facing starvation and needing intervention, he stressed the urgent need to address man-made environmental degradation that is fueling global warming.

"It is unfortunate that despite having a beautiful country, we have reached a point where last year 5 million of our fellow citizens were hungry and in desperate need of assistance. The degradation and pollution of our precious resources has brought us to this unfortunate situation. It is precisely for this reason that we are gathered here today: to address these critical issues. It is crucial to recognise that man-made environmental degradation is the main driver of global warming, which further exacerbates the challenges we face," said Dr Kiboro.

However, Dr Kiboro, who is also NMG Board Chairman, acknowledged his generation's shortcomings in protecting the environment, and as he reflected on his childhood memories, he highlighted the stark contrast between the current state of the environment and the lush forest landscape that once thrived in Ngong.

"Today, only buffaloes and elephants remain in Ngong, a testament to the level of degradation and urbanisation that has turned Nairobi into a concrete jungle. I must say that our generation has not been very good with the environment," said Dr Kiboro.

As the world grapples with the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, the need to protect and restore the natural environment has become increasingly urgent.

Dr Kiboro noted that the gathering serves as a rallying cry for society to unite and actively engage in conservation efforts to protect the planet and ensure a sustainable future for all.

Highlighting the essential role of trees in our daily lives, Sekhar Agastyaraju, Chairman of SEWA stressed on the need for environmental conservation through tree plantation initiatives.

"Given the essential role that trees play in sustaining our daily lives, it is imperative that we prioritise environmental conservation through tree planting. It is worth noting that while we all benefit from the consumption of fruit, it is not necessarily from the trees we have planted,” he said.

"Therefore, it is time for us to recognise and reciprocate the efforts of those who have planted these trees, and show gratitude to nature for its contributions. By taking proactive steps such as planting trees, we can ensure that future generations will have access to clean water, abundant food and an overall thriving environment," said Mr Agastyaraju.

Combination of shocks

According to the latest analysis, approximately 3.5 million people (24 percent of the ASAL population) face high levels of acute food insecurity from July to September 2022 (lean season), with approximately 2.7 million people in IPC Phase 3 (crisis) and 785,000 people in IPC Phase 4 (emergency).

This is a 10 per cent increase from the same period in 2021, when 2.1 million people were classified as IPC Phase 3 and IPC Phase 4. Food insecurity is mainly due to a combination of shocks, including a fourth consecutive below-average rainy season that was spatially uneven and of short duration, resulting in below-average to near-failure crop production and poor livestock production; localised resource-related conflict; and high food prices as a result of the war in Ukraine and low domestic production.

In an effort to significantly increase Kenya's tree cover by 30 percent by 2032, President William Ruto launched a nationwide tree planting campaign on December 21, 2022.

The campaign, known as the National Tree Growing and Restoration Initiative, aims to plant a staggering 15 billion trees. As part of the initiative, the government has set a target for individuals to plant 30 trees per year, resulting in a cumulative total of 300 trees planted by each person over a period of 10 years.