Residents in West Pokot County have been challenged to be at the forefront in environmental conservation to mitigate the effects of global warming. Forest station Manager in Lelan region, Mr. Wycliffe Obiayo urged residents living near forests to plant trees on public and private land to protect the forest. “We urge residents to plant more trees to help protect the environment,” he said.
Speaking at Kamelei, Mr. Obiayo urged farmers in the County to embrace tree planting culture to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, increase forest cover in the country to help protect the environment.
“We want to increase the forest cover to help control soil erosion that has destroyed land in the area,” he said.
He called on residents to cooperate with Kenya Forest Service and join in community forests associations and participate in tree planting programs in rural and urban areas. “The 2016 forest laws prohibit anyone from staying in forests,” he said. Obiayo said that the water tower will be protected for generations to come only if residents took up the role of planting trees.
“We want to ensure that the rivers flowing from the forest continually supply water for generations to come,” he said.
The officer warned over animal grazing, putting up structures, practising any agricultural activities, staying and engaging in wanton destruction of trees in gazetted forests will be arrested and prosecuted. “Stern action will be taken to those logging trees illegally,” he said.
He said that West Pokot County has 8.39% forest cover below the world required standard which is 10%.
According to Obiayo residents, illegal charcoal burning remains a big challenge in the area as the charcoal burners also cause fires in the forest.
He said that urgent measures are needed in the County to save the environment which is in a pathetic state due to land degradation caused by charcoal burning, overstocking and inappropriate farming methods.