Vihiga plants 10,000 trees to boost forests

Vihiga governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo plants a tree in a past function of World Environment Day

Vihiga County planted 10,000 trees in Maragoli Hills forest to mark World Environment Day on June 5. Governor Dr Wilber Ottichilo challenged the locals not to tire in their tree planting efforts as their work was bearing fruit.

“Vihiga has been ranked position three by Kenya Forest Service in forest cover. Only two counties are ahead of us. Nyeri and Nyandarua,” said Ottichilo who is also the chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee at the Council of Governors.

Vihiga has 35.9 per cent forest cover, surpassing national constitutionally accepted forest cover of 10 per cent.  Ottichilo’s passion for environment and climate change provoked robust initiatives of tree planting exercises in Maragoli Hills and Kibiri forests by involving communities within the natural resources.

While addressing residents at Egago dispensary, Ottichilo said that neighbouring counties like Kisumu are benefitting from the fresh air generated by Vihiga’s large forest cover. He added that since the tree planting started, rivers and water catchment areas were back.

On his part the Environment chief officer  Richard Boiyo said his department is committed to conserving the environment and called on the residents of the forest to protect the trees.

“Let us protect these trees. Our lives depend so much on them,” said Boiyo.

Maragoli Hills forest boasts of more than 60,000 tree seedlings planted in the last five years, with an office block recently built to help in administrative issues in managing the esteemed resource.

The county government pledged to construct a hospital in the vicinity, to address medical needs of the locals.

Vihiga county has been praised for its efforts in combating climate change, among them planting of trees.

It is the first county in the country to establish a Climate Change Act, County Climate Change Committee and Ward Climate Change Committees.

Also present at the tree planting event were county secretary Ezekiel Ayiego, Philip Gavuna (Sports), Abisai Amatalo (TVET), Pamela Mahila (ECDE) and CECM Environment Jeff Vukaya. The event was also attended by county staff, Kenya Forest Service, Equity Bank and residents of South Maragoli.

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