Environmental groups have pledged to collaborate in an effort to increase tree cover in Kisumu County.
While speaking at Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o Botanical Garden, the organisations said that henceforth they will work as a team to amplify their voices in key decision making on environmental matters including local control of forest resources.
Ms. Rebecca Akoth, the director of Miya Ywech, said her organization will work closely with, and support environmental organizations across the city to conserve the forests.
She added that environment based groups should be involved in key decision making to enable effective local control of forest resources. Miya Ywech advocates for zero solid waste in the lakeside city.
“It is painful that environmental groups have failed to confront challenges as a unit. It is time we came together to address the ever-elusive environmental concerns for healthy living,” Akoth said.
The county’s city manager Abala Wanga said that he will put his weight behind enhancing good working environment for the environmental groups. With the new collaboration, he added, it would be possible to realise the required tree cover in the city.
“Prof. Wangari Maathai underscored the value of forests even in cities because they clean up the environment and give people places to go to. Forests are not just about beauty, there is a scientific rationale on why we need forests in urban spaces,“ said Wanga.
Kisumu Environmental Champions, an organization whose campaign involves around ‘Let Lake Victoria Breathe Again, called on the youths to take advantage of the new found collaboration to effect environmental responsibility.
Rahmina Paullete, the founder of Kisumu Environmental Champions, reminded the youths of their responsibility in protecting the environment. She lauded the county government of Kisumu for a spirited campaign to redeem the beauty of the city.
“We need to bring the youth together and support them in protecting our environment. The question we need to ask is, how do we create an environment where people can freely talk about issues affecting our environment?” posed Paullete.
Peter Okwiny, the director of Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco) said the organization will work closely with all stakeholders and support ‘Greening Kisumu County’ in order to achieve the key environmental goals. He stressed that trees thrive because communities are holding onto them, hence a great call for unity in redeeming their place in the society.
Okwiny charged that the society has a moral obligation and an environmental responsibility to protect the earth and its inhabitants for future generations. He observed that environmental pollution is an incurable disease that can only be prevented. He pleaded with all the stakeholders present to unite and enlighten the communities on the importance of planting and conserving trees.
“The environment is not our place of luxury; it is a necessity. The environment is everything. A healthy ecology is the basis for a healthy economy,” he said.
The latest tree planting campaign comes in the wake of new research that found out that many groups at the grassroots level in Kenya, especially women and youths participate actively and in large numbers in conserving forests and environment. In line with the new finding, there is need to bring these people together and support their environmental activities in order to realize the call for a greener society.
Late last year, a new finding by Organisation for Sustainable Environmental Protection (OSEP) established that the local women groups and youth groups were more concerned with environmental conservation than women and youths in the urban centers. In its report, it recommended to the government to empower more women in the village set ups in order to realize key environmental needs.