Tree planting drive gathers pace

Environment CS Soipan Tuya (third right) and PS Energy Alex Wachira (centre) among other officials in Narasha, Londiani, during a tree planting event.

Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have stepped up efforts to plant trees across the country, sustaining the tempo set by President William Ruto on May 10 during the National Tree Planting Day.

All MDAs have been allocated sites to plant trees and targets to achieve in a six-month drive that kicked off during the May 10 tree planting holiday.

The institutions have taken up the challenge guns blazing, according to the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry.

The ministry said the first week of the exercise has been a roaring success, with the government institutions recording a 100 per cent participation.

“The first week of the six-month rapid tree growing exercise led by Cabinet Secretaries has been a tremendous success with a 100 per cent turnout by MDAs in their assigned sites,” said the Environment ministry.

Ms Soipan Tuya, the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, identified the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum as one of those that are setting the pace in the tree planting drive.

The Ministry targets to grow 884,169 trees in May as part of the deliverables for CS Davis Chirchir. The institution’s bigger goal is to plant five million trees each year by undertaking tree growing activities every second Friday of each month.

“The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum has fully distilled its 2024 long rains tree growing targets, assigning each of its two departments, nine agencies and development partners monthly targets for its sites in Baringo and Kericho counties,” said Ms Tuya.

On Friday, during an event attended by Ms Tuya, Mr Alex Wachira, the Principal Secretary in the State Department for Energy, as well Kenya Forest Service officials and Community Forest Associations in Narasha Forest in Koibatek, Baringo County, some 80,000 seedlings were planted.

Similarly, Tourism CS Alfred Mutua with his PS John Ololtuaa alongside Ms Tuya and Forestry PS Gitonga Mugambi and Chief Conservator of Forests Alex Lemarkoko, planted some 13,000 tree seedlings at Mumoni Hills in Mwingi North, Kitui County.

The two Cabinet Secretaries encouraged the community to support the government’s 15 billion tree growing campaign by nurturing the planted trees to help combat climate change effects, which include the recent devastating floods.

Further, Dr Mutua unveiled a project where each tourist visiting the country would be expected to plant a tree to bolster environmental conservation efforts.

Dubbed “One tree per tourist”, the initiative aims to leverage the symbiotic relationship between tourism and environmental preservation. It involves collaboration with various stakeholders in the tourism sector, including hotels and agencies.

“Those with hotels should have a plan where, when tourists arrive, they are given a tree seedling, make a hole and plant a tree. We want a tree per tourist. If we get a minimum of three million tourists, we will have three million trees planted,” he said.

The dedication to the tree planting campaign is a huge boost to the national drive as Kenya battles effects of climate change that include drought and floods that killed some 270 people during the long rains season.

Tourism CS Soipan Tuya during tree planting events with Kenya Forestry Service officials.

The campaign is also expected to strengthen the government’s comprehensive 10-year ecosystem restoration strategy aimed at achieving 30 percent forest cover.

Educational institutions, including primary and secondary schools as well as technical institutions, have also given the tree campaign a big boost.

The institutions have mobilised their students to plant thousands of trees, with Kericho County Technical and Vocational College targeting to plant 350,000 trees.

The Institution’s Deputy Principal Wilson Koskey on Friday said the institution has so far planted 15,000 seedlings since the president issued the directive.

More momentum is coming from the Kenya Defence Forces, which President Ruto asked to help the country tackle climate change.

“I ask KDF to lead the way by providing mechanisms, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, of achieving the 15 billion tree planting programme,” President Ruto said during a pass-out parade for officers at the Defence Forces Recruit Training School in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.

He pointed out that the recent floods that affected many parts of the country, leading to loss of lives and property, were a consequence of climate change.

“As you secure our nation from emerging security threats, climate change is also going to be our biggest threat. This is why we must mobilise the military to provide solutions to such emerging issues,” he said.

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