• May 23, 2024
  • Last Update May 23, 2024 12:57 AM
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CS Kuria Leads Tree Planting Drive in Kisumu, Urges Community Involvement for Environmental Conservation

CS Kuria Leads Tree Planting Drive in Kisumu, Urges Community Involvement for Environmental Conservation

Kisumu,

Saturday, May 11 2024

KNA by Robert Ojwang

Public Service Cabinet Secretary (CS) Moses Kuria has urged residents of Kisumu County to nurture the culture of planting trees by nurturing them to maturity to help conserve the environment.

Kuria made the remarks in Nyakach Sub County where he led the locals and other stakeholders in planting 2,000 tree seedlings at Koguta forest on Friday.

He warned that the impacts of climate change, such as floods and droughts, are real and demand collective efforts, particularly through initiatives like tree planting.

“Let us all take ownership of preserving the Koguta Forest, which we are diligently working to restore.

We must not rely solely on the government to safeguard the environment, as it is you who suffer the brunt of flood impacts,” CS Kuria told the locals.

He pointed out that Kenyans relented in their efforts to conserve the environment, leading to frequent and intense floods and droughts.

These alternating disasters continue to claim lives and displace thousands of people without relief.

The CS mentioned that the government has intensified its environmental conservation campaign to address the climate change crisis.

This includes assigning each Cabinet Secretary to specific counties, where they are responsible for leading efforts to restore fragile ecosystems.

“I’ve been assigned the responsibility of overseeing the reforestation of Got Akara in Siaya County, Koguta Forest here in Kisumu County, Mt Elgon in Bungoma County, and many other sites.

I’m counting on the grassroots communities to assist me in accomplishing this objective,”he said Nyanza Regional Commissioner, Flora Mworoa, emphasised the importance of community members partnering with the government to ensure the maintenance of the revitalised forest.

“The success of our tree planting initiative relies on the involvement of the local community.

If livestock are allowed to graze in the forest and damage the newly planted tree seedlings, our efforts will be in vain,” she stressed.

Further, Mworoa urged the individuals to strive to plant a minimum of 30 trees each, to contribute to the Government’s ambitious goal of planting 15 billion trees by 2032.

Nyanza Region Forest Conservator, William Cheptoo noted that Koguta Forest was once a flourishing ecosystem, abundant with indigenous trees.

However, he highlighted that the forest had been depleted due to rampant charcoal burning in the area.

He said the passing out of nearly 3,000 Kenya Forest Service (KFS) rangers in October 2023 would strengthen forest protection and conservation efforts.

“The state has transitioned from solely government-managed forests to a collaborative forest management system involving both the government and neighboring communities.

These reforms will ensure Koguta Forest is managed by both the local community and Kenya Forest Service,” said the conservator.

Through this collaboration, Mr Cheptoo added, the community will have the opportunity to benefit from harvesting grass for their livestock, access safe and clean water from the springs for domestic use, and utilise the forest as a source of firewood.

He lauded the interventions aimed at restoring the depleted vast 441-hectare Koguta Forest, aiming to enhance Kisumu County’s tree cover which stands at 8.85%, ranking at position 38 nationally. Mr Cheptoo noted that KFS has collaborated with partners from National Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), prisons, Kenya Forestry Research Institute and Kenya Medical Research Institute, County Government, Lake Basin Development Authority and private tree nursery operators to accelerate the restoration efforts in the lakeside county and achieve the goal of planting 91 million trees within the next decade. This marked CS Kuria’s second time leading tree planting efforts in Kisumu, after the inaugural National Tree Planting Day in November 2023 where over 10,000 tree seedlings were planted at the Kodiaga Prisons.

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