Kereita Forest is a historical landmark for Kenya. People in this area gave their lives in exchange for our independence as a country. The British in March 1953 killed approximately 5000 people at Lari as a retaliation to the Mau Mau attack on about a hundred European collaborators during the Lari massacre. This area is home to the mass grave where the 5000 people killed by the British were buried making it instrumental to our history.
It was thus an honor this weekend when I had the opportunity to join a group of people in planting 2000 trees to help in the continued conservation of the Kereita Forest which forms part of the larger Aberdares forest. It’s a major water catchment area for Kenya which reinforces the importance of us continuously taking care of its well being. Fertile areas such as Kereita are susceptible to deforestation and human encroachment that is why organizations such as Kijabe Environmental Volunteer’s efforts to aid in the conservation of this forest are very much appreciated.
The group is made up of young people who give their time and skills to the maintenance of the forest. This is selfless on their part and it goes to show that there are young people dedicated and ready to work towards the aversion of climate change. The Kijabe Environment Volunteers have also introduced activities such as Zip Lining meant to attract visitors to the forest. Funds collected from the activities are used in conservation of the forest.
The forest also serves as a tourist attraction site as it has an array of wild animals including elephants, monkeys and various bird species. There are also hiking trails for persons who love to explore nature. The biggest attraction site here is the Kereita Waterfall on Gatamaiyu River and an adjacent caves that house a bat colonies, the caves are also said to have acted as hide outs for the Mau Mau .Make a date and visit Kereita Forest it will be worthwhile.
Dandora one of Nairobi’s largest dumping sites tells the story of the plastic bags menace in Kenya vividly, about 5O% of the trash in this site is plastic bags. This could however Change as the ministry for environment has gazetted a law that states that government will no longer allow the use of plastic bags in the country in the next six months .The reasons cited is that plastic bags are a threat to our environment and are contributors to environmental degradation.
The hurdles in this scenario however are the thousands of jobs that will be lost due to this directive with manufacturers already counting their losses and trying to get the government to change its directive due to the losses it will cost the economy.
By removing plastic bags from the picture a void is created and it has to be filled. What will the common mwananchi carry her groceries in? Many will be quick to answer paper bags or tote bags. Scientist are however of the opinion that paper bags have a bigger negative impact on climate change than plastic bags .Paper bags have a higher carbon imprint .They require a lot of energy during production and thus a lot of greenhouse gases are emitted causing pollution.
Some of The reasons why Kenyans support the governments directive on phasing out of the plastic bags could include.
Plastic bags have been the thorn in their flesh, the litter on Kenyan streets is mostly plastic bags.
Drainage systems in major towns and estates have been rendered useless due to plastic bags getting stuck in them and causing blockage.
Plastic bags have infringed on our oceans leading to their contamination, additionally fish, and marine mammals in general ingest them. These plastic bags poison or choke the fish leading to their death.
Plastic by itself is a toxin which is not good for a person’s health. People ingest toxins by consuming contaminated sea mammals. This leads to health complications.
The die seems to have already been cast on this one but things are never done until they are done .We are counting down six months to see how the dust settles on this plastic bags ban. Will the ministry of environment win or will plastic bags manufacturers carry the day?
PS; Kindly leave your comments on why you support or do not support the use of plastic bags.
Time is the most precious commodity not even gold and diamond can compare to time .Its thus flattering when a group of young people decide to put every other business they have behind them and be part of a 10Km walk in Karura Forest to create awareness on the need for conservation of forests.
The world is celebrating the global goals week and goal 13 on climate action is one of the seventeen sustainable development goals and one of the most important ones .This is because if we don’t conserve our planet right now we will have everything else but no future. A poorly conserved planet means we will slowly succumb to illnesses and disease.
The Green walk team has taken the initiative to stand with Karura forest a forest found near Nairobi the capital city of Kenya .Due its proximity to the city centre it’s been prone to grabbing by rich business moguls whose aim is to turn the forest area into an industry area where they build malls and hotels to make them more money to the detriment of our health. Such development will leave the rest of us prone to problems that arise due to climate change. deforestation and encroachment of riparian reserves have nothing but negative effects such as destruction of the ozone layer and increase in carbon emissions that we cannot allow .The general public does not understand the dangers of deforestation and they be interested in reaping from the short term benefits of job creation that will arise from commercializing Karura forest but we cannot let this happen. That is why efforts of young people such as The Green Walk Team cannot go unnoticed and bodies in government including the Ministry of environment should support and encourage more young people to join this initiatives bent on conservation of currently forested land and afforestation.
The plan of The Green Walk team is to compliment the environmental activities done by other stakeholders within the forest and to also better the lives of the people living around Karura Forest. Their goal of providing clean water and sanitation to communities in Nairobi is a noble one and is in line with Sustainable goal 6 on provision of clean water and Sanitation to all. Youth is fleeting but we must say that this young people are putting theirs to a good use. Care to be a green walker? Visit their website http://www.thegreenwalk.org/
Environmental capital is the corner stone of any economy of a country. For the other sectors to thrive the environment has to be well taken care off. The worlds ecosystem and its biodiversity has over the years continued to be threatened by continuous human encroachment on forests, water ways and on wild animals’. Exploitation of these natural resources to meet the needs of an ever growing population is the greatest problem.
The burgeoning of human settlement on forest reserves and on water ways has led to nature retaliating in ways such as increased flooding, increased costs of pumping freshwater where residents of urban areas have to pay so much to get clean water in their houses. The disappearance of economically valuable fresh water fish leading to reduction in the global ocean fish catch is also another issue, where families that were largely reliant on fishing as their means of making money now have to look for alternative livelihoods. This goes on to show us that our ignorance of the environment makes us vulnerable especially where we can’t get clean water in our homes. It’s a problem that trickles down to us, its personal and we need to be part of the solution.
The world is currently dealing with the reality of climate change which is one of the negative effects of over exploitation of environmental capital. The conversion of natural ecosystem to areas for human use and also mining of minerals such as coal and oil which are of high economic value is the highest contributor to this menace. Countries may make money from real estate investments and also from sale of these underground minerals but in the long term they will be in trouble. At this point in time when Kenya is looking to get both into coal mining and the oil industry the question on the lips of young people right now should be. What is of more importance right now, conserving our environment capital or having short term economic mileage on other African countries financially by mining oil?