Cabinet secretaries and other senior government officials were yesterday dispatched to different parts of the country for the inaugural Tree Planting Day.
The day is one of the key pillars of President William Ruto’s plan to combat climate by planting 15 billion trees by 2032.
The government officials urged Kenyans to embrace the initiative for the sake of sustainability and the survival of the planet. The officials were coordinated by the office of Internal Security Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo through the National Government Administration officers.
Three CSs—Kipchumba Murkomen (Transport), Alfred Mutua (Tourism and Wildlife) and Aisha Jumwa (Gender, Culture, Arts and Heritage)—led tree planting exercises in the Coast region.
The State departments for Roads and Transport planted over 30,000 mangrove trees as tens of Hindus celebrating Diwali joined the exercise.
Mr Murkomen and some Mombasa residents trekked several kilometres to Gana Hona to plant trees since no vehicle could access the area.
“So far, the State Department for Roads has planted 415,000 trees, while the State Department for Transport has managed 16,00 trees,” Mr Murkomen said.
In Taita-Taveta, Mr Mutua and Governor Andrew Mwadime led other government officials in planting over 3,500 trees in Ngangao forest, Wundanyi. The CS told county residents not to wait for the government to invest in water harvesting and instead build water pans in the area.
“All the water from the hills drains into the Indian Ocean leaving the residents here in drought conditions. It is your duty to take care of your environment,” he said.
A total of 27,000 mangrove trees were planted at Maisha Masha within Mambo Sasa forest in Witu, Lamu to mark the tree planting day.
Ms Jumwa and Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani said the tree planting initiative will play an important role in mitigating the adverse effects of climate change. The CS urged county residents to make good use of the ‘Jaza Miti’ mobile application that offers guidelines on the tree planting exercise.
In the North Rift, Energy CS Davis Chirchir was in Eldama Ravine, Baringo County, where he said the government is committed to restoring degraded forests through community forest associations (CFAs).
“We have adopted over 2,000 hectares of degraded forest lands in partnership with the Kenya Forest Services and CFAs to ensure the restoration of the catchment areas,” said Mr Chirchir.
In Trans Nzoia, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu and Governor George Natembeya led the public in the exercise in Endebess sub-county, while Public Service CS Moses Kuria and Governor Stephen Sang led the public in planting trees Kolong and Kimondi forests in Nandi County.
Immigration PS Julius Bitok and his Shipping and Maritime Affairs counterpart Geoffrey Kaituko were in Turkana where
they led other government officials in planting over 2,000 trees in Ekaales centre in Lodwar town.
Health CS Susan Nakhumicha, who was in West Pokot and Uasin Gishu counties, said some of the planted trees will be used for medicinal purposes.
“We intend to plant more than 50 million indigenous trees in this country over the next 10 years. Majority of those trees will be used for medicinal purposes and research by Kemri (Kenya Medical Research Institute),” she said.
Public Health and Professional Standards PS Mary Muthoni and UDA Secretary-General Cleophas Malala were also in West Pokot and led residents in planting trees at Aramaget Early Childhood Development and Education Centre.
“The increased forest cover in such escarpments will mitigate soil erosion and landslides, apart from contributing to the socio-economic development of the people,” said Ms Muthoni.
At the Railway Training Institute in South B, Nairobi, Secretary to the Cabinet Mercy Wanjau emphasised the importance of trees in preserving the environment and creating Green cities.
In Samburu, Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi was in Tamiyoi area within Kirisia forest where more than 10,000 seedlings were planted in the area where squatters had vacated voluntarily.
Labour CS Florence Bore was Chepalungu forest, Bomet County, where she led the exercise accompanied by Governor Hillary Barchok, Chepalungu MP Victor Koech and nominated Senator Joyce Korir.
In Nakuru, the exercise in Kiamunyi area was led by Governor Susan Kihika, Defence PS Patrick Mariru and Commissioner-General of Prisons John Warioba
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru said that the county aims to achieve its target of six million trees by the end of her tenure by planting 1.5 million trees annually.
“When we plant trees, we are not only making our environment beautiful but we are contributing to the well-being of the future generations since trees are an essential part of the ecosystem as they provide humanity with oxygen, food, shelter and medicine,” she said.
In Nyeri, Lands CS Alice Wahome and Governor Mutahi Kahiga led the tree planting in Gathiuru Forest Station, Kieni Constituency, while East African Community CS Peninah Malonza was in Meru County.
“We are encouraging Kenyans to plant fruit trees, which besides increasing forest cover, will also be used to for other purposes including income generation,” she said.
In Isiolo, Governor Abdi Guyo appealed to residents to take advantage of the ongoing rains to plant trees on their land. Speaking when Chief of Defence Forces Francis Ogolla presided over the planting of 1,000 trees at Waso Primary School, the governor revealed plans to support massive tree planting in Kinna and Oldonyiro areas.
Former Police Spokesman Charles Owino led area residents in planting trees at the Siaya Institute of Technology grounds. He called on the residents to fully participate in the exercise saying that the region has favourable conditions for tree growing.
Mr Bore and ICT PS Edward Kisiang’ani led residents of Nyamira and Kisii counties in the exercise. She urged them to refrain from planting eucalyptus trees, which she said have devastating environmental impacts because of their high ability to drain water from wetlands.
In Kakamega, Kabras Sugar RFC players and West Kenya contracted farmers joined other Kenyans in a tree-planting exercise. At least 5,000 tree seedlings were planted in Senyende within Kakamega forest and in Kiminini.
Reporting by Kassim Adinasi, Shaban Makokha, Wycliffe Nyaberi, George Odiwuor, Elizabeth Ojina, Anthony Kitimo, Lucy Mkanyika, Winnie Atieno, Kalume Kazungu, Kitavi Mutua, Steve Otieno, Sammy Kimatu, Joseph Openda, John Njoroge, Toby Messo, Geoffey Ondieki, Vitalis Kimutai, Flora Koech, Evans Jaola, Barnabas Bii, Sammy Lutta, Oscar Kakai, Titus Ominde and Stanley Kimuge