Kenya’s current forest cover of just over 7% of her land area is still below the constitutional requirement of 10%.
KWS in conjunction with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Nairobi Logistics Center planted over 1,000 trees inside Nairobi National Park at Maribet next to the SGR, to promote a green environment and lessen the hard-hitting impacts of climate change.
Nairobi Park, the first to be gazetted in Kenya on 16th December 1946, is one of the lungs that ensure the survival of Nairobi city – the other one being the Nairobi River. Keeping the park alive and vibrant through the planting of indigenous species of trees is in line with Kenya’s Vision 2030 goal of 10% forest cover.
The ICRC has been in existence for 155 years and is a keen advocate of recycling water, used oil, paper, plastic and electronic waste, in an effort to make their carbon footprint as minimal as possible.
ICRC has been giving assistance to vulnerable people around the world. To fulfill this daunting task, ICRC had to develop a massive logistics division.
The tree planting was a commemoration of the 20 years that the ICRC Logistics Division has been in existence.
One of the volunteer tree planters wanted assurance that the trees planted would not be eaten by the wild ungulates which frequent the site, evidenced by the myriad, different-sized pellet droppings scattered all over the area designated for planting.
KWS Forester James Mathenge explained that conservation is multi-faceted. It includes tree planting, as well as animals eating the trees planted, so the 100% guarantee on seedlings not being consumed could not be given. He pledged that all efforts would be made to ensure the trees’ survival, including using a water bowser to irrigate. He advised everyone to pray for sufficient rainfall.
He also exhorted those present to leave the site cleaner than they found it by ensuring that the polythene bags which contained the seedlings were disposed of in the portable recycling bins brought to the site.
Nelly Palmeris, Assistant Director Nairobi National Park, said that Social scientists estimate that every human needs 9.5 tonnes of Oxygen per year. Every inhale of breath contains roughly 23% Oxygen; how many inhales does one need to get to 9.5 tonnes?
In light of this, everyone should plant seven to eight trees, to sustain this and achieve the Vision 2030 goal.
The Head of Administration from ICRC, Salima Malik quoted Wangari Maathai thus: “You can make a lot of speeches, but until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing. You are just talking.”
Seven species of trees were planted: Erythrina abyssinica; Kigelia africana, Dalbergia melanoxylon, Acacia Elatior, Acacia zanthoxylum, Acacia polyacantha and Olea Africana.
Over 200 people attended the tree planting, many of whom were children whose unbridled enthusiasm for the exercise bodes well for the future of conservation.