Friday, December 6, 2019
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Director of Admin., Mr. Henry Obino, flanked by the CCF, Mr. Julius Kamau and other KFS officials, planting a commemorative tree during the KENSJA tree planting campaign.

Journalists under the Kenya Environment and Science Journalists Association (KENSJA) joined hands to plant over 3,200 trees at Ngong forest as part of their contribution the country’s clamor for a 10 % tree cover.

The journalists from various media houses partnered with the Ministry of Environment , Kenya Forest Service, Kenya wildlife Service, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) among others in the exercise.

Speaking during the event, Director of Administration in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Henry Obino said the Government has made tremendous efforts to ensure there is no encroachment on government land and especially forests and water towers .Obino noted that currently huge acreage of land had been reclaimed  and put under trees adding the government intends to reforests over 22,000 hectares across the country.

“Between now, and the long rainy season of April – June 2020 we plan to plant 500 million trees to boost forest cover. We shall proceed to plant 600 million trees in financial year 2020/2021 and 800 million trees in 2021/2022 financial year to reach the 2 billion trees towards realization of world recommended 10 percent tree cover,” the Director said.

Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) at the Kenya forest Service (KFS) Julius Kamau   said that the public is now aware of the connection between forests and their lives and that was why KFS was pushing planting of trees to increase the cover from the current 7.2 percent to 10 percent by 2022. “We have about 2.5 million hectares in public forests and are thus calling upon Kenyans including the private sector, media and local communities to change the story in terms of tree planting,” Kamau said.

The Director of Admin., Mr. Henry Obino, who represented the CS, Mr. Keriako Tobiko, addressing wananchi at Ngong, during the event.DSC_0278

He thanked the media for the role they play in advancing forest conservation in this country by informing the public the perils of forest degradation as well as the benefits of sustainable forest management. Kamau noted that the Ministry of Environment and Forestry is currently implementing a strategy that employs a multi-sector approach in pooling resources and technical capacity and would like to partner with members of the Fourth Estate especially in increasing the public’s awareness in new approaches to forestry management.

“This includes informing the public about new technologies and techniques in sustaining forestry in the drier parts of the country,” he noted. The CCF challenged KENSJA  to reach out to all journalists across the country saying that as a Service, they are willing and ready to partner with them to make the media tree planting exercise an annual national event.

KENSA Chairman Duncan Mboya said the goals of the journalists are to deliver science reporting in the country, mentor and nurture upcoming journalists and to engage stakeholders on matters of national interests.

“Today marks the beginning of another engagement for journalists that will help send a strong message to all citizens on matters tree planting towards meeting the country’s goal. As we were planning this event, we realized that we were planning a national exercise and therefore decided to bring all journalists who value environment on board, some of whom are nonmembers of the association,” he said. Mboya said that journalists were ready and will continue to partner with the government, KFS and other stakeholders in future tree planting and other environmental conservation efforts towards helping improve tree cover to the international levels and for the betterment of humanity.

The importance of forests for the general well-being of our country cannot be gainsaid since they support all aspects of our lives from being the most important source of energy for a vast majority of our population to supporting key sectors of the economy in the agricultural, energy, manufacturing and tourism sectors among others while also regulating the environment by sequestering carbon to give us clean air.  

Staff from the Public Communications of the Ministry and its SAGA’s taking part during the KENSJA tree planting campaign

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CAS, Hon. Mohammed Elmi, flanked by the Director, Env. Education & Awareness and an official from the Presidency, addressing members of the multi-sectoral team.

The Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Hon. Mohamed Elmi, has underscored the need for Nairobi County residents to segregate waste in their households, in the roadmap to improve waste management, noting that, for the City County to kick start the proposed circular economy in waste management, the residents needed to embrace best practices in waste management and change their undesirable behaviour of waste dumping.

Addressing a multi-sectoral team drawn from the Ministries of Environment and Forestry, the Presidency, Health, Interior, City Hall, KEPSA, KARA, NEMA, UN Habitat and Danish Embassy, at the Ministry’s  boardroom, that is designing a sustainable waste management action plan for Nairobi City County, Hon. Elmi noted that, under the action plan, each household will be provided with three waste receptacles that will be colour corded to represent different types of waste. Green will be for organic, Blue for recyclable while Brown will be for other waste. This, he noted, enable the City to sustainably manage its waste and create a circular economy in the process, and at the same time, create wealth through compositing and recycling of the massive waste collected in the capital city.

Once segregated, it is proposed that Material recovery centres will be established in various sub- counties within Nairobi City County. Such recovery centres will serve as the source for material to compost and recycle.

Hon. Elmi noted that, the process of better waste management will create many jobs and create wealth at the same time.

Members from the multi-sectoral team on the sustainable waste management action plan for Nairobi, listening keenly to the CAS

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A Taita Apalis bird perching onto a tree.

Conservationists are warning that species of two rare birds living in Taita Hills risk becoming extinct, due to severe loss of habitat and use of non-native trees to rehabilitate degraded areas.

Taita Thrush and Taita Apalis are on the Red List of Critically Endangered Birds by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The species are only found in Taita Hills.  Critically Endangered category is the final stage before any species is officially declared extinct.

According to IUCN, a global organization that tracks and monitors status of different species of plants and animals, the two birds are dwindling alarmingly. A survey done in August 2018 established that the global population of Taita Apalis stood at between 210 and 430 birds. The numbers of Taita Thrush as at October 2016 was 930.

Mr. John Mlamba, a veteran conservationist, says the fate of the two species hangs by a thread. He adds that rising human population has adversely affected the forests and dense bush where the birds live. This has led to rapid shrinking of habitat which he warns will see the extermination of the feathered beauties.“Human activities like clearing bush for cultivation has robbed the birds their original homes. If nothing is done, we are witnessing the death of the last species of Apalis and Thrush in the world,” he said.

This grim reality comes barely two years after Sudan, the last known male species of White Rhino died in March 2018 at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia County. There has been efforts by the government and other stakeholder to stem this looming catastrophe. One of the deliberate efforts was the launch of Action Plan for Conservation of Critically Endangered Birds in Taita Hills, Kenya 2015-2020. This is comprehensive report by Kenya Wildlife Service and several Kenyan-based conservation groups as part of seeking interventions to halt the decimation of the two birds in Taita Hills.

The report places the population of Taita Thrush at 1,400; a slightly higher figure than the figures earlier given but their survival remain gravely threatened. The bulk of these surviving birds are in Mbololo Forest which houses 1,060 birds. Some 250 others are in Ngangao forest while Chawia Forest has 35 birds. However, it is the Taita Apalis that is giving conservationists sleepless night. The report pegs the population of Apalis at between 300 and 600. They are reducing rapidly due to severe habitat loss arising from human activities and predation. Already, Taita Apalis has completely disappeared from two of their traditional habitats in Chawia and Fururu forests.

Rare sightings of these birds are reported in Iyale, Msidunyi and Ngangao forests. Mr. Mlamba says the biggest threat to the birds’ survival is habitat fragmentation which has confined the birds into tiny colonies separated from each other. This has come about as human settlements crop up in the middle of forests and bushy lands where the birds live. As a result, in-breeding amongst small colonies with a higher male ratio has seen the birds’ population dip sharply.

He says that in early 2006, there were efforts to revive least-cost corridors in farms around Taita Hills. Least-cost corridors was an initiative to encourage farmers to plant indigenous trees in selected places which would link up the fragmented habitats for the birds.

“These corridors would act like bridges which would allow birds from one surviving habitat to move to the next one for mating and hybrid improvement,” he explained. The project, however did not take off due to lack of funds and support from stakeholders.

Mr. Mlamba said that studies by Finland’s University of Helsinki showed that Taita Hills had lost over 90 per cent of its forest cover in the last one century. Sixty per cent of the loss happened in the last 50 years.

He adds that initially, over twenty forests including Chawia, Mbololo, Fururu, Iyale, Msidunyi and Shomoto formed one unbroken continuum of forest cover. This made the birds population thrive. However, settlement in those forests cut off the birds leading to the current situation where they might become extinct.

The 2015-2020 Action Plan report also cites using non-native trees for reforestation as working against the rejuvenation of the birds’ population. As a result, farmers are urged to plant indigenous trees to boost the endangered birds’ numbers.

Mr. Mlamba, who is also the director of Management of Arid Zones and Initiatives for Development Options (MAZIDO) said there was a renewed effort to encourage farmers to plant indigenous trees.

In a program dubbed Vuria Forest Restoration and Livelihood Improvement (Vuforeli) project, his group is working with 1,000 farmers living around the degraded Taita Hills to restore the natural vegetation cover using native trees.

“We are educating farmers on why they should plant indigenous trees. This is the only hope remaining for the birds,” he said.

As part of livelihood improvement, farmers are being encouraged to plant Macadamia trees as an alternative to their preference for non-native trees which they claim are economically beneficial due to timber harvesting.

Nature Kenya, an NGO that deals with conservation of birds, has also joined in the campaign to save the two bird species.

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A file photo of sandal wood tree seedlings in a nursery

Eleven tones of sandalwood worth Sh 44 million has been destroyed at Maralal police station following a court order. The sandal wood which was illegally harvested in Samburu east was confiscated by police officers in July 2019,while being transported in a lorry along the Maralal Wamba road.

The destruction order issued by Maralal Principal Magistrate Richard Koech was executed by burning in the presence of Samburu County Commissioner John Korir and Samburu County police commander Samson Ogello. While speaking after setting the exhibit ablaze in Maralal, county commissioner John Korir said his office would work with other government departments in ending sandalwood business across the county.

“We have Kenya Wildlife Service, police and Kenya Forest Service and principal magistrate we have agreed to jointly work together in ending this kind of business,” Mr Korir said.  The county commissioner said traders who are destroying forest and weeding out sandalwood in the region are non-residents in the county. He challenged residents to conserve forest by preventing people from cutting and even uprooting sandalwood trees.

Korir urged locals to protect their forests from exploitation by greedy people engaging in the illicit business.  “Sandalwood in an endangered species and the illegal harvesters are uprooting even the roots to maximise profits,” said Korir.The sandal wood species grows well in northern Kenya and its oil which has a sweet woodsy smell is a major ingredient for products such as perfumes, aftershaves and incense.

An image of sandalwood

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The  current  heavy  rains  being  experienced   over  several  parts  of  the  country  are expected  to continue  on Monday  25th   November  2019. Heavy  rainfalls  of more  than 30mm in 24hrs are expected  on 24th  and 25th  November over Western, Northwestern, Northeastern,  South  Eastern  and  Central  regions  including  Nairobi  area.  The  rainfall intensities are expected to reduce from Tuesday 26th  November, 2019 over several parts of Kenya……read more

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Waste collectors rummaging through waste in a dumpsite as birds of prey wait for their turn.

The county government of Nakuru, has set aside Ksh. 8 million to rehabilitate the largest dumpsite in Naivasha following frequent complaints from members of the public. The move to rehabilitate the dumpsite came after residents threatened to move to court to block usage of the area until it was rehabilitated.

Nakuru County Chief Officer for Environment, Mr. Muriithi Kiogora said rehabilitation works will begin immediately money is released in this financial year.  Kiogora said part of the works will include fencing the entire area to prevent waste spilling to residential areas in addition to installing a live wire which will be erected in the area to prevent encroachment on the land.

The Chief Officer at the same time regretted that Lake Naivasha continued to face challenges key among them contamination from effluent discharged into the waters. He said they had learnt from developed nations on protection of the lake, adding that, some of the critical environmental protection practices will start being implemented soon.

“We are learning how Denmark managed to conserve its water bodies and it’s through those best practices that we will embark on conserving Lake Naivasha,” said Kiogora. He further said that the county was addressing the issue of chemicals and fertilizers used in flower farms which was a major cause of environmental degradation in the area.  He said they will work closely with local universities to conduct research on the chemicals used by flower farms so as to rate the extent of effluents flowing into the lake from the farms.

Addressing the press in Naivasha, Kiogora said though the budgetary allocation to the department was meagre, they were determined to protect the environment for future generations.  He regretted that most of the current diseases afflicting Kenyans including cancer and diabetes are due to destruction of the environment and challenged stakeholders to take seriously the issue of conservation.

 

 

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CS, Environment and Forestry, Mr. Keriako Tobiko with CS, Sports, Amb. Amina Mohammed and athlete, Kipchonge, during the Mashujaa day fetes.

Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Keriako Tobiko and his Sports counterpart Amb. Amina Mohamed, inched closer to the long-held dream of promoting environment conservation through sports when they met world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge.

The meeting was during this year’s Mashujaa national day celebrations held in Mombasa, where the world-famous marathoner was feted by president Uhuru Kenyatta with the prestigious national decoration of the Elder of the Golden Heart (EGH).

The Cabinet Secretaries and the athlete discussed conservation of the environment and forestry resources as an enabler to improve performance of sports in the country.

Eliud, among other world-renowned athletes in the country, train at the Kaptagat Forest in north rift valley where conservation and restoration will ensure quality air to enable a conducive environment for training.

The athlete, who became the first man on earth to ever run a 42 kilometers marathon in less than two hours, discussed with the Cabinet Secretaries the possibility of the Eliud Kipchoge Foundation, to adopt & restore part of Kaptagat Forest.

The athlete together with his Coach Mr. Sang, who were flown to Mombasa for the Mashujaa Day celebrations by Kenya Forest Service (KFS) caravan aircraft, was awarded the medal that is preserved for the most honored personalities in the country.

Those awarded are people whose outstanding services rendered to the nation in various capacities are highly recognized and distinguished.

 

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Green world keepers led by Angeline Kitte planting a tree at CCI Nkareta

In a bid to support the government efforts in the ongoing tree planting and growing to increase the country’s forest cover to 10%, local Non Governmental Organizations Green World Keepers, founded by people living with albinism has planted over one million trees in 17 counties across the country.

Speaking when they distributed seedlings to churches in Narok, Green World Keepers founder; Angeline Kitte said they have been going round the country distributing trees seedlings in line with government policy to plant 1.8 billion trees around the country by 2020 to rehabilitate degraded environment and achieve the 10 per cent forest cover.

Kitte  who is also the Environment ambassador of her organization raised concern over the rampant deforestation in Narok County especially in Mau water tower and appealed  to the residents to plant trees.

The tree planting event was organized by the representative of persons with albinisms in collaboration with Green World Keepers, Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority and Team Environment distributed tree seedlings to over 15 churches in Narok.

The representative of persons with albinism in Narok and the host of the event  Mr. Ruben Sanare Mbatian said that his efforts to distribute and plant trees across churches was intended to motivate other persons with disability to  also impact positive change in the society.

“I always say that the disabled person can also do much better than the abled person. People should know and get to understand that disability is not inability,” he said.

 

Ruben Sanare Mbatiany representative of persons with albinism handing over tree seedlings to the churches of Nkareta

Jane Monga team leader from Tana and Athi River Development Authority (Tarda) asked the recipients of the seedlings to take care of the planted trees so that such non-governmental organizations could continue heading back to Narok County for more tree planting campaigns.

“We will be back to check on the progress of our trees, the trees we are planting today are for the generations to come,” she added.

She also asked Ewaso- Ngiro South Development Authority (ENSDA) to not only continue with their environmental rehabilitation efforts of handing over tree seedlings for free but also give out fruit seedlings to residents so that they may also enjoy and gain monetary value for trees.

Over 13 churches were handed over tree seedlings on that day.

 

 

 

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PS Ms. Betty Maina together with the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation H.E Rasmus Prehn sample some of the products at the exhibition.

Kenya has taken deliberate steps to create an enabling environment for entrepreneurs to tap into opportunities presented by climate change to strengthen the economy Environment and Forestry CS Keriako Tobiko has said

He noted that several policy instruments are already in place to help the country achieve a low carbon and climate resilient  economy.
“As effort to insulate Kenyans from the effects of climate change and protect our environment, my Ministry launched the first ever training program on climate change policy, planning and budgeting at both the National and County levels of Government” He added.
In a statement delivered on his behalf by the Environment Principal Secretary Ms Betty Maina, the CS said through partnerships with Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) and Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) the government is implementing training programme premised on mainstreaming climate change into national and county decision making process.
The program is meant to form a significant contribution towards the implementation of the Climate Change Act 2016, as well as the Kenya’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
To achieve the country’s economic blue prints such as Vision 2030 and the President’s Big Four Agenda, the CS underscored the importance of continuous engagement with the private sector which is essential in developing climate mitigation and adaptation technologies.
“The private sector, through the businesses that you continue to support, dominates numerous investments that are critical to the design and delivery of many adaptation and mitigation innovations”. Mr. Tobiko said.
The CS underlined the role played by start-ups, small to medium enterprises in the mitigation and adaptation of climate change effects which he said form a very major component of the economy.
He cited a recent National Economic Survey report by the Central Bank of Kenya which indicated that SMEs constitute 98% of all business in Kenya, create 30% of the jobs annually as well as contribute 3% of the GDP.
Over 70% of livelihoods and employment in Kenya depend on natural resource sectors, thus heightening the threat climate change and poses to the country both in terms of risks to jobs and livelihoods.
Through its Medium Term Development Plan (2018-2022) the Government proposes to address the negative effects of climate change through promotion of a low carbon climate resilient and green growth development.
This will be achieved through strengthening climate change governance and coordination, monitoring, reporting and verification, capacity building and public awareness, as well as through implementation of the Green Economy Strategy and the National Climate Change Action Plan.
The meeting was attended by Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, H.E Mr Rasmus Prehn, Danish Ambassador to Kenya Mette Knudsen, KCIC CEO Mr Edward Mungai among other dignitaries.

An Exhibitor explains the importance of using kings briquettes to the PS environment and the Danish Minister for cooperation at the exhibition.

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Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Chief Executive Officer Phylis Wakiaga makes a point during the Kenya Action Plan meeting today at Ministry of Environment headquarters.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Chief Executive Officer Phylis Wakiaga has said that the manufacturing sector is developing concepts that will ensure environmentally sustainable use and recycling of plastics.

Speaking during a meeting with Ministry of Environment and Forestry officials, that was to outline Kenya Plastic Action Plan, Wakiaga said there is need to implement policy and legislation on recycling and plastics waste management.

Ms Wakiaga said  during the meeting at the Ministry of Environment headquarters that KAM members

will continue to explore and embrace circular economies to benefit businesses, society and the environment.

The CEO said KAM members were committed to environmental sustainability through Extended Producer Responsibly (EPR), and Producer Responsibility Organization.
Ms Wakiaga said that government policy should be informed from research, data  and facts, to create a common voice and creative solutions to improve on plastic waste management in Kenya. ‬
‪She advocated for creation of a circular economy, around plastic waste and EPR schemes adding that the Kenya Plastic Action Plan, outlines measures and proposes concrete action for all stakeholders to deal with waste management problems.

Ministry of Environment Director of Environmental Education and Awareness Dr. Ayub Macharia, (Centre), and other members of Staff, During the The Kenya Plastic Action Plan , the initiative is a private sector driven initiative, with the aim of involve policy makers , general public and the manufacturers in safeguarding a clean environment.

‪Ministry of Environment Director of Environmental Education and Awareness, Dr. Ayub Macharia said that since the government started engaging KAM, price of waste bottles has increased, and more drop off points have been established across the country.

‪Dr. Macharia said that the agreement with KAM was now at phase 3, with a view to inform the government on policy action and framework of cooperation to be undertaken, he called on the manufacturing sector to come up with tangible actions aimed at curbing plastic pollution.
The meeting was meant to deliberate and inform on the development of Plastic Waste Management Action Plan in line with Frame Work of Cooperation between the government and private sector.
 The Kenya Plastic Action Plan is a private sector driven initiative, with the aim of involve policy makers , general public and the manufacturers in safeguarding a clean environment.

A section of Members following proceedings, during the Kenya Plastic Action Plan , the Plastic Action Plan outlines measures and proposes concrete action for all stakeholders to deal with waste management problems

In Kenya only a paltry of 9% of plastics are recycled, while 600,000 metric tons of plastic bottles are produced annually, and 400,000 MT are used locally, and end up in landfills, burnt or it goes to water bodies.

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