Embrace William Ruto's call to plant 15 billion trees

President William Ruto plants a tree during the official opening of Devki steel Limited at Samburu in Kwale County. [Omondi Onyango,Standard]

The late President Mwai Kibaki once remarked: “Usishinde ukiuliza ni nini serikali imekufanyia, wewe jiulize unafanya nini kujisaidia mwenyewe na kusaidia serikali?’

He was asking Kenyans not to keep on asking what the government had done for them but rather ask what they were doing to support the government attain its mandate.

Indeed, as good citizens, we have to strive to make the government achieve its mandate and in the process make our lives better.

The ravaging drought affecting more than 25 counties is disturbing. The government is working hard to remedy the situation, but this is a short term solution. We as Kenyans must commit ourselves to a long term solution.

We are losing our heritage and Kenyans are suffering under the weight of unending drought which has persisted for more than four years now in some areas.

Lives have been lost. Wild animals have died and this is a real wake-up call.

The declaration by President William Ruto that we endeavour as a country to plant 15 billion trees in 10 years is commendable.

This projection is achievable bearing in mind that every Kenyan just needs to plant 300 trees to realise this target.

I hope the government will avail seedlings to those Kenyans willing to be patriotic on this aspect yet they cannot afford the seedlings.

The benefits accruing out of this initiative may not be immediate to us, but our descendants will be thankful to our generation for bequeathing to them a better and greener future.

Pessimists will argue that this is a farfetched goal. We need to be positive. Plant trees in any idle space in your possession and let your neighbours follow suit.

Let us not forget what the late Laureate Wangari Maathai once said, ‘nature is unforgiving, you destroy it, and it will surely destroy you.’

The global warming that has been blamed for the change in weather patterns due to green house and industrial emissions continues to be a threat to humanity.

Less attention has been forthcoming from the major players apart from usual boardroom meetings whose resolutions are never translated to serious action.

We have messed up our natural resources (forest). Blatant encroachment and destruction of our forests has become the norm. We have gone further to even convert our agricultural plantations into housing estates? Development is good but it shouldn’t be at the expense of our environment.

Meanwhile, as the government is planning to construct dams in arid and semi-arid areas, our priority should be to plant as many tree as can be possible around those dams. It will be glorifying to turn former North Eastern and Eastern provinces, green.

This will enhance food security especially fruits production for both local consumption and exports.

Consequently, more job opportunities and engagements will be created through value addition.

Trees also play a role in restoring damaged environments to their natural state. They prevent soil erosion, hence boosting food production.

Our present and future farmers will find better soils and terrains to do agriculture if we plant and nurture enough trees.

Trees also absorb carbon dioxide and other gases produced by indistries, which must be there to provide commodities used by human beings.

This provides a healthier environment for human beings who then able to keep diseases at bay and enjoy longer, fruitful lives.

Should we plant the 15 billion trees in 10 years, this could be President Ruto’s most enduring legacy from 2032 ownwards. We will remember him as Kenya’s best CEO!

Finally, I appeal to the government to find a way to lower the cost of electricity and gas for domestic use. This will discourage overreliance on charcoal and firewood as a source of fuel in our local setups.

The writer is a senior lab technologist at KNH

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