County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources George Emoru has called for the sensitisation of Turkana residents to conserve and preserve the local tree species in order to save the depleting forest cover.He said devastating human activities on forests for commercial purposes have adversely affected consevation of forest cover in most parts of the sub saharan Africa.
Speaking at Hannah Emuriakin primary school in Lokichoggio at a tree planting ceremony to mark this year’s International Day of Forests (IDF), CEC Emoru told residents of turkana to plant more trees especially now that the world Environment is ravaged by the current Global climate change.
“Turkana used to get rain at a certain months of the year but now the pattern has changed. We have damaged our environment by cutting trees and burning charcoal which has contributed to the decrease of forest cover,” he said.
He said , his Ministry will purposely focus on planting of local tree species that are resistant to the harsh climate conditions. This, coupled with more exotic trees will largely improve environment and increase our tree cover.
Today, more than 1500 tree seedlings were distributed and planted to mark the Day.
One of the main stakeholders, Horn of Africa Environment Network working through South Rift Association of Land Owners (SORALO) led by its Director John Kamanga said that the only way to save the world from climate change is by a simple action of planting more trees.
Moving forward, SORALO as part of the Environmental resilience project will soon be entering into an MoU with the County Government of Turkana to jointly implement conservation of wildlife and rangeland programs.
On her part Deputy Director Pauline Ngoli Pusiye said that the county government is committed to increasing tree cover particularly on dryland forests.
CEC Emoru further said It is the responsibility of everyone, governments, churches to ensure that people participate in restoring forests through campaigns, advocacy, planting and conserving the remaining trees. He told forest officers to be ambassadors and take the message accross the entire county and mobilize communities to plant more trees in order to increase our forest cover.
Also present were; Joshua Napoco Ekitela (Sub-county Admin. – Turkana West), Hellen Nakaru (Deputy Director Tourism), Dr. Edward Mengich (Assistant Director – Kefri, Lodwar), Dr Peter Edome (Dean – School of Science and Technology, Turkana University College) and Sheikh Yusuf Ali Aremon (Chair of Turkana Inter-religious Council).
Other participating stakeholders at the Event included Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Kenya Forestry Service and Mercy Corps.