We will not turn back on riparian evictions - Tuya

CS Soipan Tuya plants a tree at the University of Embu to mark the World Environment Day on June 5, 2024. [Muriithi Mugo, Standard]

The government will not relent in evicting people encroaching on riparian land and protected areas.

Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya said forcible evictions would go on as planned.

Speaking at the University of Embu during World Environment Day celebrations, she said environmental conservation is a matter of life and death following the adverse effects of climate change witnessed in the recent past.

The CS urged families living in protected areas to move out voluntarily saying that the government will not allow a few individuals to destroy gains made in environmental conservation.

Tuya asked Kenyans to take seriously advisories from the weatherman on looming drought.

"We are determined to fully restore our degraded landscapes and ecosystems, as we do so, we will not sit back and watch as few people among us negate these efforts, we have made tremendous strides in the reduction of forest crimes and illegalities but I am cognisant of people who want to pull as back," she said.

The CS led government officials and residents of Embu in planting trees to reclaim Kiambuthi wetland, a peri-urban ecosystem. She said the eco-system will be used for bench-marking following an MoU between the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and the University of Embu.

"This area will be used by youths to generate income and is viable for research by the university," she said.

Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire said that despite the country making commendable steps in climate change mitigation, there is need to reduce waste and environmental pollution.

"We can choose reusable objects, use less plastics and recycle our waste to prevent pollution from ruining our environment. We undertake environmental friendly and smart agriculture by choosing to grow organic crops rather than using chemicals," she said.

President William Ruto's daughter Charlene said youth are up to the task in environmental conservation. "Let us indeed plant trees but move beyond planting, monitoring and evaluation is so important in growing more trees," she said.