Sunday, August 25, 2019

CS, Mr. Keriako makes a point during the presentation, flanked by Dr. Njuguna from KEFRI, Mr. Gichu from Conservation Directorate and Mr. Wlson Tonkei from the CS office.

Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko has directed the formation of a multi-disciplinary task force to address the national wood deficit that rose sharply following a moratorium on logging.

The task force which will address commercial Forestry policy and strategy is to be spearheaded by the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEEFRI) and the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) will comprise other government Ministries, Non-governmental agencies and the private sector and will culminate in a stakeholder consultation.

He said the team should come up with a stand-alone policy and strategy that is not addressed by the National Strategy for Achieving the 10 percent Tree Cover and which will address the rising wood and timber shortage in the country.

The CS added that the policy and strategy will address wider issues of Vision 2030. Sustainable Development |Goals, the Big 4 Agenda alongside helping the country achieve the 10 per cent tree cover by 2022.

It will involve the Ministries of Agriculture, Devolution, Trade, the Council of Governors, Gatsby Africa, KePSA, Timber Manufacturers, Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), BIDCO, KAKUZI among others and is expected to be in place soon.

CS Tobiko was speaking during the presentation by various technical teams, on strategies to be adopted as the country races to achieve the National Tree Cover to 10 per cent by 2022.

He was informed that the country could be self-sufficient in wood and timber supplies in a short time if it adopted the commercial Forestry concept as has been used in Uganda and Mozambique.The CS further directed that a private youth enterprise GREEN PAP TREE INITIATIVE be incorporated in the National Tree Planting Strategy for use as a tree survival monitoring tool.

Mr. Tobiko was impressed by the enterprise’s virtual innovative methods to monitor tree growing using Drones and thermal imaging. This helps in matching the correct species for tree seedlings under different soil and weather conditions. Further the application will provide concrete live data about tree growing alongside linking environmentalists with County Green Ambassadors who promote tree planting in the country.

The CS recommended that the enterprise be enlisted for the forthcoming National Youth Convention that is scheduled to take place in Nairobi in September.

CS, Mr. Keriako Tobiko following keenly, as Mr. Richard Wambua. from GREEN PAP innovations, explaining about an App that he created for tracking and documenting tree planting activities

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Officers from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry during the website updating session in Naivasha.

The sound management of chemicals and wastes is an important component in achieving sustainable, inclusive and resilient human development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that, all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Integrating chemicals management priorities into the national environment and poverty reduction planning frameworks, will help countries to access financial and technical resources to implement and improve the holistic management of chemicals and waste.

Speaking during a workshop to up-grade and update the Chemicals Management, Mainstreaming and Unintentionally Produced Organic Pollutant’s Project website, the Project Technical advisor, Mr. Francis Kihumba noted that, the project intends to protect human health and the environment by managing the risks posed by production, use, importation and exportation of chemicals and reducing or preventing the release of Unintentionally Produced Organic Pollutant’s (U-POPs), and toxic compounds originating from the unsafe management of waste in the health care waste and municipal waste sectors.

Noting that a chemical is any substance consisting of matter, including any liquid, solid, gas or any pure substance (an element) or any mixture (a solution, compound, or gas), Mr. Kihumba observed that, chemicals can solve societal problems of social and economic development. They can also have inherent hazards and be a risk to human health and the environment.

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), are a group of chemicals which are intentionally or unintentionally produced. They can be pesticides or industrial chemicals, and pose unacceptable risk to human health and are listed under the Stockholm Convention on POPs for severe restriction and eventual elimination.

Some chemicals are also unintentionally produced organic pollutants (UPOPs), like dioxins and furans. They are priority chemicals because of their serious negative impact to human health and environment, and are produced by open burning of waste or incomplete combustion due to low temperatures. They can cause various diseases such as cancer, compromise immune deficiency; affect negatively reproductive health and many other diseases as elaborated under the Stockholm Convention.

In addressing the sound management of chemicals and   policy guidance for all waste, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry is implementing the Sound Chemicals Management, Mainstreaming and UPOPs Reduction Project in Kenya, which is being implemented in the counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Kisumu.

The project, that is being financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)  and executed by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (ME&F), which assumes the overall responsibility for the achievement of project results as the lead Implementing Partner (IP),  will protect human health and the environment by managing the risks posed by production, use, import and export of chemicals, reduce  and prevent the release of U-POPs and toxic compounds originating from the burning of health care and municipal wastes, adopt an integrated approach for the proper management of waste within the health care facilities by replacing open burning or burning in single chamber incinerators with compliant equipment and practices.

The workshop, that was held in a Naivasha hotel, was attended by officers from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the UPOPs Project team. It aimed at developing a one stop repository site of chemicals and waste information in Kenya and bridge the information gap amongst various actors in the chemicals and waste arena and also show – case initiatives by different actors.

A memorable group photo of the officers undertaking the UPOPs website updating exercise in Naivasha.

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Narok County Commissioner Samuel Kimiti(Left) and Cabinet Secretary(CS) for Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko(Right), speak to the press in Narok after a closed door meeting to discuss the second phase of Mau restoration.

Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary (CS) Keriako Tobiko has said the second phase of Mau forest restoration will not be negotiable.

Speaking during a meeting with various stakeholders in the Narok County Commissioner`s office, Tobiko clarified that the process would not be about eviction but restoration as the land belonged to the State.

He said that the prolonged disputes over the restoration of the Mau water tower had nothing to do with the law but politicization of the entire process.

During the meeting, Tobiko announced that the State had cancelled over 1,200 title deeds in Mau forest which were acquired through unscrupulous channels.

“The Mau forest disputes that have been on going, have been political and nothing to do with the law being flouted,” Tobiko said.

He further reiterated that Mau forest is not about tribes and pledged that the restoration process would go on as planned by the relevant authorities.

“We do not care which tribe you come from or political affiliation you have, whether tangatanga or kieleweke restoration is now or never,” he said.

Phase one of the forest restoration that saw 10,000 illegal settlers evicted was centered in Reiya Group Ranch while the second phase has Nkoben, Ilmotiok and Ololunga on the radar. The others arenokishomi,Enoosokon,Nkaroni and Sisian.

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya who was present hinted that the government had already deployed sufficient personnel on the ground to carry out the process.

“We are ready for the second phase of the restoration. We have deployed sufficient personnel on the ground to carry out the activity,” he said.

The water tower restoration is estimated to affect over 10,000 people including an alleged 8,000 school going children and over 1,000 candidates set to sit their national exams this year.

Narok County Commissioner Samuel Kimiti urged residents to preserve forests and warned that those found burning charcoal in the forest will face the full force of the law.

“Forests belong to the National Government and no day shall we allow a few individuals to benefit at the expense of the entire nation,” he further added.

The CS further said that there was need to protect the environment that was under threat from human infestation citing that the government was about to launch massive tree planting campaigns across the country.

The campaigns will involve young people especially in secondary and primary schools, colleges and universities that will be required to plant at least 10 per cent of the total planned number.

To this end, the government plans to plant 1.8 billion trees around the country by 2020 to rehabilitate degraded environment and achieve the 10 per cent forest cover and part of the plan is to use school children and students to plant trees.

During the first phase of the eviction in July last year, about 7,700 people were evicted from the forest land which saw over 12,000 acres of the forest reclaimed.

The eviction elicited political posturing with leaders from the Maa and Kalenjin communities engaging in bitter exchange.

Maa leaders wanted the evictions to go on while the Kalenjin leaders wanted it stopped terming it illegal and inhuman.

The Mau is the largest water tower in the country supporting millions of human life and wildlife in Kenya and beyond.

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Garbage heaps dumped at Cottage Estate in Nanyuki. Residents are accusing County Waste Disposal employees of shoving the trash from roadside dumpsites back to their compounds. They fear disease outbreak if the trend continues.
Photos by Martin Munyi/KNA

Residents of Nanyuki town and its environs are up in arms over alleged dumping of garbage back into their homes by Laikipia County personnel.

They said that homes openly threw their garbage to the roadsides for lack of better disposal facilities.

At the same time,residents alleged that county government officials decline to collect it claiming the garbage was notappropriatelydisposed and instead threw it back to the houses where it became an eyesore.

In the last few weeks county waste disposal employees have been seen shoving heaps of garbage and trash into estate compounds where residents have been dumping their house waste on roadsides.

Residents in Cottage Estate on the outskirts of Nanyuki town, where the waste dumping has been taking place lately on their compounds are now fearing an outbreak of communicable diseases.

Ms. Tabitha Mwangi, a resident termed the action by the waste disposal employees as “barbaric” saying that the move was likely to bring about serious health complications for residents.

“How can someone in their right mind dump heaps of garbage in a compound where people live? We have children playing around and if they come into contact with the trash, they will contract diseases,” Ms. Mwangi said.

Other residents affected by the action took to social media to register their anger. They accused the county waste disposal team of failing to come up with alternative ways of disposing of solid waste so that they stop dumping it by the roadsides.

Rhis Wanjiru, a resident wrote on social media, “The same happened sometime back at our estate. It was terrible as the stench was unbearable.”

Another resident, Philip Bundotich wrote, “This is bad because it will see the spread of diseases.”

Laikipia County Executive Committee member for Water and Environment NjengaKahiro under whose docket garbage collection falls when contacted on phone denied that his workers were dumping garbage in people’s compounds.

“Our work involves collecting solid waste and ensuring that the environment is clean and safe, why would we then start dumping the same in homes and people’s compounds,” Kahiro said on phone.

He, however, added that some of the estates such as Cottage lay within Nyeri County noting that his department had no mandate collecting garbage in the neighboring county.

“Sometimes we do it (collect garbage) out of courtesy since some of our employees live there but administratively Cottage lies in Nyeri county,” the CEC said.

Efforts to reach Nyeri CEC in charge of Environment Fredrick Kinyua on phone over the matter were fruitless as his phone went un-answered.

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Machakos Governor Dr. Alfred Mutua while on a development tour of Tala in Mwatungulu sub-county where he launched 400 new large garbage bins.

As the devolved function of waste management gains momentum, Machakos Governor Dr. Alfred Mutua has led the way by spearheading cleanliness in various towns of the county.

He urged residents to uphold high standards of cleanliness in an effort to make the county the cleanest in the entire East African region.

Speaking in Tala town of Matungulu Sub-county in Machakos Friday during a development tour where 400 new large garbage bins were launched, the Governor urged the residents not to litter the ground with garbage.

Dr. Mutua who also launched six new skip loaders, two modern compacting trucks and a street light truck said his government is building town roads and constructing modern drainage systems

“We are paving walkways and concreting open ground. We are also installing solar street lights. The idea is to make our towns and villages modern and eliminate dust and mud” said the Governor.

Some of the dustbins that were distributed by the Machakos County government in Tala area of Matungulu sub-county of Machakos. The governor called on the residents to uphold high levels of cleanliness.

Dr. Mutua pointed that cleanliness and order starts with an individual adding that the country is ready for generational change.

“We need new leadership that will ensure money gets into the pockets of our people. Kenyans are tired of being broke and poor while a few people and some corrupt leaders swim in wealth” said Dr. Mutua.

The second term Governor who is aspiring to contest for the 2022 Presidential seat reiterated that economic growth calls for innovation, experience in development, and energy to transform Kenya.

“That is why I reiterate that as a young, dynamic leader, I will, by the grace of God and will of the people of Kenya, be the next President of the Republic of Kenya,” Said Dr. Mutua.

He urged leaders not to be obsessed with politicking adding that the country needs speeded up development so that the economy grows.

Quoting the words of the famous British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that you ought to change the environment and the environment will change you, Dr. Mutua pointed out that leadership should be about transforming lives through quantifiable and wide-reaching development programmes.

According to the Governor, the county has already installed over 1800 mulika mwizi floodlights and street lights, nearly 500 dams, pans and weirs for harvesting water and 441 solar powered boreholes for feeding the over 360 km new water pipes in the villages.

“Our over 1,000 primary schools each have a free 10,000-liter water tanks from my Government. The journey of removing the shame of lack of water is past halfway in Machakos” added Dr. Mutua.

“This is quantifiable and verifiable development that has changed lives. Now, our youth have time to attend the 40 free polytechnics in Machakos County to equip themselves with skills to enable them to gain employment” he added.

 

 

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The Agikuyu Holy Shrine inaugurated  last week by Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko shall be accessed and used free of charge for worship and other spiritual & religious rites by members of the Agikuyu Community on the following terms & conditions.

  1. No putting up of structures or settlement
  2. No cultivation of crops or grazing of
    livestock
  3. No logging or cutting of trees
  4. Every worshipper visiting the site shall
    bring & plant an indigenous tree at the site
  5. A tree nursery & bustani of indigenous
    trees & traditional herbs to be established
    at the site
  6. No trading or commercial business
  7. . No political meetings or gathering

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Residents of Malindi town clean the town during the monthly clean up exercise

Environment and Forestry Principal Secretary Dr Ibrahim Mohamed has called on Kenyan to adopt the circular economy model in terms of dealing with waste.

“The Ministry has finalized public consultations on development of a Sustainable Waste Management (SWM) Bill and Policy”. The PS said.
The policy has adopted a circular economy approach whereby all waste is regarded useful and extraction of maximum value from waste is prioritized.
In a speech read on his behalf today by the Director of Environmental Education and Awareness Dr Ayub Macharia the PS said the Policy and Bill intends to create many jobs for Kenyans in the waste industry through waste recycling and composting.
He urged Counties to domesticate the SWM Policy and Bill in order to ensure a clean and healthy environment as enshrined in the Constitution.
The PS spoke in Malindi town after a monthly clean up exercise spearheaded by Progress Welfare Association of Malindi and the Malindi Municipality. The clean up exercise was attended by Kilifi North MP Hon. Owen Baya, Kilifi CECs in charge of Environment and Tourism among other dignitaries.
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CS, Mr. Keriako Tobiko, fielding questions from a K24 TVkl reporter, during the interview.

Kenya is on the path to achieving a cleaner environment following the recent ban on plastic carrier bags.

Speaking to the media in his office on the milestones achieved after two years of plastic ban, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry Mr. Keriako Tobiko observed that, there has been tremendous progress in the enforcement of the ban.

Over 500 people have so far been arrested for the offence while 300 others were prosecuted and fined between sh. 50,000 and sh.150,000. Some of the arrested people were jailed, the CS added.

Observing that there has been tremendous progress in reduction of the circulation and distribution of the plastic carrier bags, Mr. Tobiko cited human and financial constraints and lack of capacity as some of the challenges facing National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in  fully discharging its role.

Mr. Tobiko enumerated porous borders, inability of County Governments to take up the devolved environmental conservation function and low public awareness on attitude change as some of the other challenges facing the plastic ban.

 

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry gazetted the ban on plastics on February 28, 2017 and it took effect on August 28 the same year. The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has since been enforcing the ban leading to a cleaner environment in many parts of the country.

CS, Mr. Keriako Tobiko, stressing a point during the media interview.

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Wananchi preparing mangrove tree seedlings for planting at the coastline.

Conservationists are alarmed by the loss of mangrove forest cover to illegal cutting of trees in Kwale County. Stakeholders contend that concerted effort is required in halting the illegal logging of mangrove forest for firewood and building materials saying those involved do not realize that indiscriminate felling of mangrove trees along the shoreline is illegal and destructive to the marine biodiversity.

 

Mangroves are rare, spectacular and prolific ecosystems on the boundary between lands and oceans and support a rich biodiversity besides providing a valuable habitat for fish and crustaceans. James Kairo, chief scientist at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute says mangroves which thrive in salt water are regarded as the most valuable resource along the shoreline.“But illegal cutting of mangroves makes it a dwindling resource thus affecting livelihoods,” said Kairo.He said in recent years stakeholders have been able to plant about 30,000 mangroves in Kwale County alone.

 

Kairo said the damage done to mangrove swamps in the area is enormous besides exposing the coastline to the vagaries of weather and coastal erosion. Speaking in Vanga during a tree planting exercise Dr. Kairo said residents must value mangrove forests because they play a major role in the ecosystem. He said urgent concerted efforts are needed to save the unique mangrove forests before they are completely damaged and save the biodiversity and the livelihoods which depend on the mangroves for survival.

           

Dr. Kairo underscored mangrove conservation saying it is important in the fight against climate change and mitigates risks for coastal communities as well as being a defense against storm surges, tsunamis, rising sea level and soil erosion.“These trees are of much importance knowing that they purify the air we breathe not forgetting prevention of strong waves like tsunami,” he said. Dr. Kairo said 80 percent of fish caught in the coastal region depends on mangroves which need to be conserved to enhance food security.“Large percentages of fish found depends on these trees and at the coast people rely on fishing to sustain their livelihood hence imagine absence of such valuable trees,” said Dr. Kairo.

 

On his part, Kenya Chief Conservator of Forests for the Kenya Forest Service Julius Kamau said there has been an increase in fish production since the campaign for mangrove planting was initiated in Kwale in 2008. “Before 2008 Vanga used to get 3 tons of fish per year but after creating awareness on the importance of environmental conservation mostly by planting trees they now produce 12,000 tons annually” he said. Kamau however, urged local residents to preserve forests for their own benefit and for posterity. “When we are told to safeguard our environment, we are not doing it for anyone but rather for ourselves for good health and prosperous lives,” he said. 

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Memorable- CS, Mr. Keriako Tobiko, in a memorable group photo with the Maa Ladies Environmental Ambassadors, after the courtesy call.

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry, Mr.Keriako Tobiko, has challenged professionals from the Maa community to form networks and groups, in order to champion for environmental education to their communities.

Speaking to a group of Maa Ladies Environmental Champions who had called on him in his office, the CS noted that, the community is challenged because they depend on the environment 100%, and there is  need to educate the people on the importance of environmental conservation.

The CS challenged them to form groups, networks and movements to champion environmental education to their communities which are mostly affected by environmental related disasters including drought and floods. He  cited the dependence of the Maa community on the environment for their livelihoods as a driving force to take up conservation issues seriously and become environmental ambassadors.

Mr. Tobiko noted that, apart from the Maa land being Arid and Semi Arid (ASALs), there were many other challenges faced by the community who are largely pastoralists, including rampant charcoal burning, lack of proper human waste disposal among others.

The CS called on the environmental ambassadors to expand their networks to include volunteers from Narok, Kajiado, Samburu, Laikipia, Marsabit and Baringo counties, and identify key environmental concerns in these counties as well as map out learning institutions that are fenced, and that can be tree planting sites ahead of the short rains tree planting regime in October and November.

CS, Mr. Keriako Tobiko, in discussion with members of the Maa Ladies Environmental Ambassadors group in his office.

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CS CALLS FOR TASK FORCE TO ADDRESS WOOD DEFICIT

Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko has directed the formation of a multi-disciplinary task force to address the national […]

REPOSITORY OF CHEMICALS & WASTE INFORMATION SITE DEVELOPED

The sound management of chemicals and wastes is an important component in achieving sustainable, inclusive and resilient human development and […]

Second phase of Mau evictions to kick off soon

Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary (CS) Keriako Tobiko has said the second phase of Mau forest restoration will not be negotiable. Speaking […]

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