Over 6.7 million trees planted in five months, Interior ministry says

Dabaso Kantoma in North Horr, Marsabit, plants drought-resistant seedlings. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Over 6.7 million trees have been planted countrywide since the tree restoration program was launched by President William Ruto in December 2022, this is according to the Interior ministry.

The initiative, spearheaded by the National Tree Planting Restoration, aims to plant at least 15 billion trees by 2030.

The campaign serves as one of the responses to the devastating impact of desertification and climate change.

According to the Interior ministry, a total of 6,719,754 trees have been planted across eight regions in the country.

Eastern Kenya has taken the lead, planting 4,377,362 trees in five months, and the vast Rift Valley coming second with 621,805 seedlings planted so far.

The Coast region and Central Kenya have both surpassed the half-million mark, with 523,699 and 514,550 seedlings respectively.

Western and Nyanza regions have each planted slightly over a quarter of a million seedlings, precisely 278,023 and 274,669 saplings, respectively.

Only North Eastern (52,478) and Nairobi (77,168) are far below the one-hundred-thousand mark.

"Kenya's dedication to reforestation has gained momentum, with each of the eight regions showing promising progress during the initial phase of the national tree-planting campaign," stated the Ministry of Interior and Coordination on Monday, June 5, 2023.

Speaking during the launch of the tree-planting program, President Ruto said the initiative will help combat the effects of climate change, which has unleashed calamities such as drought, floods, unpredictable rainfall patterns, and disease and pest outbreaks.

“To a considerable extent, these adversities are the direct and indirect consequences of human failure to observe its ecological imperative. Instead of preserving the integrity of the planet’s vital systems to enhance the earth’s livability for all of creation, we have embarked on thoughtless exploitation and the insidious pursuit of prosperity in ways that do not take environmental costs into account,” said Ruto.

The move comes even as Kenya joins the rest of the world in celebrating World Environment Day 2023 and encourages awareness and action for the protection of the environment.

The celebrations, held on June 5 every year, are led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This year’s theme is solutions to plastic pollution, with 2023 marking the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day.

In Kenya, the celebrations are being held at Nakuru National Park in Nakuru County.