Written by Shillah Mwadosho and Joseph Amunya
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Environmental conservation exercise kicked off in Nandi County with the planting of five thousand indigenous trees in two locations.
Kapsabet Zonal forest manager Rosemary Seronei led a team of fifty environmentalists from the county who planted the trees in five water catchment areas in Kipture and Kipsigak locations in Nandi South district on Tuesday.
The conservation exercise scheduled to be conducted weekly targets all locations in the county where over one million indigenous trees are expected to be planted before the end of this raining season.
Ms. Seronei said that the exercise was aimed at controlling climate change which she termed as “a threat” to the county that has experienced destruction of water catchment areas.
Speaking to West Fm after the exercise, Seronei said that she had been impressed with the way residents were cooperative in conserving environment adding that there was a need for the exercise to be conducted in all regions in Kenya.
She said, “Tree planting should be encouraged among the people so that the objective of protecting our environment is attained.”
Seronei who was accompanied by environmentalists from Nandi County led by their activist John Chumo lauded environmentalists in the county for leading in creating awareness on environmental conservation.
She said, “We appreciate the services of various voluntary groups that have established tree nurseries and even proceeded to plant the seedlings in various areas.”
Chumo lamented that destruction of environment in the country was ongoing despite various existing laws that should be addressing the matter.
He said that the government was dragging on matters of environment adding that various laws have been put in place to protect the environment but have never been implemented.
“The government only issue threats which do not work. Legal actions should be taken to curb further destruction especially in water catchment areas,” he said.
Chumo decried that Nandi County which was once a “home of rain” was slowly heading to a semi-arid land because of indigenous trees that were being fell for charcoal by a section of residents.
However, Nandi South District commissioner George Ayonga who was not there during the tree planting exercise told West Fm on telephone that destroyers of the environment would be dealt with acrimoniously.
“We shall work closely with environmentalists and forest services department to ensure that our environment is protected,” he said.
The Lugari zonal forest manager Mr. Sternly Mwangi addresing residents of Lugari location. Photo | Joseph Amunya | West Fm
Acquaint with Forest Laws
Elsewhere in Lugari District of Kakamega County, people living around government forest land have been advised to acquaint themselves with Forest laws in order to avoid conflicts between them and forestry officials in Lugari District of Kakamega County.
This was said by Lugari District Forest Zonal Manager Mr. Stanley Mwangi when he addressed residents living around Lugari forest.
Mwangi observed that the conflicts that have consistently rocked parts of the district between residents and forest officers would adequately be addressed if both parties understood the Forest Act 2007, which outlines rules and regulations governing forest land under government jurisdiction.
“We should for instance understand what the law says about, for instance, monthly fuel license and movements permit in order future frictions between residents and forestry police officers,” said Mwangi.
Area residents have blamed the forestry department for a recent criminal attack that occurred in Marakusi sub location which saw 15 people seriously injured.
It is alleged that one of the suspects who were arrested was a forest police office attached to Lugari forest station.
Warning forestry officials against engaging in malpractices, Mwangi urged area residents to report to his office any officer found soliciting bribes from them.
He further warned area residents against entering receipt less business transactions with government officials, terming such as the worst form of corruption.
“Whether it is a license to fetch firewood or transport logs, make sure you are issued with a legitimate government receipt fully stamped,” said Mwangi.
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