Nakuru County focused on environmental conservation
The Nakuru County Government today pledged to work with the National Government to conserve the environment and reduce the current wave of forest fires.
Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika said the county was home to three lake bodies, two gazetted forests and an avalanche of environmental resources which obligates her administration to play a key role in the protection and conservation of the environment.
Represented by Deputy Governor, Mr David Kones during a meeting with Environment Cabinet Secretary, Ms Soiyan Tuya in Nakuru City, Governor Kihika said the county will not leave the task of environmental conservation to the National Government only.
“Nakuru County Government is and will be working closely with the Ministry of Environment in protecting, conserving and restoring the climate. We arena the arena where environmental issues are happening. They are happening here,” she said.
Governor Kihika said the Nakuru County Assembly has passed a law establishing a legal frame that guides the devolved unit’s efforts to conserve and protect the environment. She listed some of the activities as removing water hyacinth from Lake Naivasha, planting trees and reclaiming the Gioto Waste Site.
Other water bodies include Lake Nakuru, Lake Elementaita and Lake Solai while Mau Conservancy and Donduri Forest as the gazetted forests. Forest cover, however, forms 0.09 per cent of the land mass in the County.
“The legal framework guides us on what to give that forest conservation is mainly a function of the National Government. We do what that is within our legal provisions as a County government but at the same time partnering with National Government in preventing, mitigating and responding to emerging environmental conservation issues,” she said.
Among the activities that the County Government is involved in include tree planting, educating the masses on the importance of environmental conservation, and reclamation of wastelands.
“Even as we speak now, the County is ready to start planting trees once the rains start,” said Mr Kones. The deputy Governor was accompanied by Environment County Executive Committee Member (CECM), Mr Nelson Marwa.
Ms Tuya was accompanied by Forestry Department Principal Secretary, Mr Ephantus Kimotho and Kenya Forestry Service Commandant, Mr Alex Lemarkoko and Regional Forestry Commandant, Mr Francis Kariuki.
While welcoming the readiness of her ministry to work with the Nakuru County administration, Ms Tuya decried the high spate of fires. Out of the total 180 fire cases across the Country, Nakuru County accounted for 63.
“We need to start talking about the root causes of fire, the real causes of fires in the forests. I was hoping to hear the scientific cause of the fire. I have seen a lot of fires as I was overflying forest areas,” she said.
Ms Tuya held a session with Community Forest Associations ( CFA) and Forest Conservation Committees (FCC) to hear the challenges of their work, the people behind the destruction of forests and what can be done to increase the forest cover to 10 per cent.
They were drawn from Nakuru, Baringo and Kericho counties. Illegal charcoal burning, fencing forests, cutting down of trees, road construction, and bee king are some of the challenges the public faces in seeking to protect the environment.