CS Tobiko decries the degrading of forest reserves, water towers

Environment CS Keriako Tobiko planting a tree at Sangalo Institute
Environment CS Keriako Tobiko planting a tree at Sangalo Institute

Environment CS Keriako Tobiko has said Kenya’s forest cover is still way below the recommended threshold of 10% to enable environmental stability. Speaking during a Greening Kenya Campaign meeting in Nairobi with stakeholders, with Interior CS Fred Matiang’i in attendance, CS Tobiko said the tree cover stands at 7.2% and there is a gap of 1.6 million hectares. He further pointed out that the forest reserves in Kenya have been degraded, “We have 2.5 million hectares of forests in Kenya, gazetted forest. Of that 140,000 hectares are degraded,” he said. He revealed that it takes the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) 5,000 hectares to rehabilitate per year, “You calculate how long it will take KFS to regenerate 140,000 hectares of natural forests.”

He said most of these forests are water towers, supplying water to Kenyans and the region, and that of the 18 gazetted water towers, only one is fenced, the Aberdares, the other which is partly fenced is Mt. Kenya, “The rest are neither surveyed, neither titled nor fenced.”

Interior CS Fred Matiang’i said the government will introduce County campaigns, which are set to show which of the Counties is the greenest County and which allocate more resources to the environment, “We are going to work with agencies here to ensure that institutions, Universities or schools or TVET institutions that support environment most, that do most to the environment are able to be accorded or they can get some sort of support for what they are doing,” he said.