By The COAST Reporter
Kwale County Commissioner (CC) Michael Mwangi has directed chiefs to set up tree nurseries so as to accelerate the government’s tree restoration programme that targets to plant 30 billion trees by 2032.
Mr Mwangi said that national government administrative officers (NGAO) will collaborate with the County Government on environmental conservation.
“We should cooperate with the County government to improve our environment through tree planting to combat climate change effects; the government has committed itself that 30 billion trees must be planted,’’ he said in Shimoni.
“For chiefs and assistant chiefs this is a directive. We must start tree nurseries in our offices and plant trees in our compounds and all public utilities. When citizens come to your offices you can give a tree seedling for them to plant in their homes.”
The CC was addressing Shimoni residents during a Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) CSR tree planting exercise in degraded sites at the sites where the Sh2.1B Shimoni Fishing Port is being constructed in a bid to conserve the environment.
He urged chiefs who had not started the tree campaign to commence before he started his physical visits their stations for supervision purposes.
“The government directive must be implemented,’’ he said.
On the Sh.2.1 Shimoni Fishing Port, Mr Mwangi advised the Kenya Ports Authority to speed up the construction so that the fishermen benefit.
“The government has a well laid out plan to make sure citizens get services, as civil servants it’s our responsibility to ensure we support this project for the locals to benefit,’’ he said adding that the project will open up Shimoni for investment and job opportunities for the youths.
He urged locals to take part in public participation meetings for their voices to be heard and incorporated into the final reports.
“The locals must be involved to give their views so that when the project commences they are not left behind, we should move together. This is a legitimate government elected by the people and must serve the people.”
Chiefs, he explained, have a responsibility to disseminate government information in their locations.
“When you read the constitution of Kenya it stipulates that power belongs to the people. Citizens must be involved; when you are called for public participation you should heed the call.’’
KPA manager supplies chain management Ngure Gachanja said the move was aimed to boost the government’s efforts of planting 15 billion trees by 2032 to mitigate climate change.
The local communities identified three degraded sites where 1,900 trees will be planted at the highly degraded Bahati landing site in Mwazaro Village.
Shimoni and Kichaka-Mkwajuni Primary Schools will each have 50 baobab trees planted there.
He said the authority has plans to adopt other highly degraded sites by planting more mangrove trees at Wanga landing sites in Anziwani Village, Changai and Kiwambale landing sites respectively.
“These sites have open patches caused by ecological imbalances due to human activities and require continuous tree replenishment,’’ said Gachanja adding that they are keen on planting and saving trees because they play a vital role in the ecosystem.
He said the authority has a fully-fledged division handling environmental matters in all port facilities guided by the KPA Green Port Policy.
The aim of the Green Port Policy, he says, is to make the Port of Mombasa a leading world port in the sound stewardship and management of the environment affected by port operations and seeks to continuously improve the environment for both the community and staff.
Gachanja said it used new technology and recyclable materials for all new construction and development to reduce carbon footprint.
During the event KPA in collaboration with the community planted 2,000 trees in nearby schools, dispensaries and mangrove trees along the coastline of Shimoni.