“When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope. We also secure the future for our children.”― The late Wangari Maathai: Nobel peace prize winner for environmental conservation and founder; The Green Belt Movement.
June 5 is honoured and celebrated as the World’s Environment Day. It was started by the United Nations in 1974 to promote environmental conservation awareness and activities. This, was to curb global warming, overpopulation, marine pollution, unsafe agricultural activities, poaching among other environmental hazards like safe disposal of nuclear waste.
The day is celebrated internationally by more than 143 countries, Kenya included. Kenyans joined the world in celebrating this day by engaging in various environmental conservation and preservation awareness activities. Amongst them Kigumo residents in Kahumbu hill forest, Kigumo constituency, Kahumbu ward in Mûrang’a County.
Around 300 residents turned up at Kahumbu hill forest in a tree planting exercise. 2,000 trees were planted. Members of the vocal youth leaders group in Murang’a county, The Murang’a Generals, Dan Kinuthia, Domkar Chuma, Dr. James and Kahumbu Ward nominated MCA Ms. Beth Waithira have been the stewards of today’s activity.
Why was the day celebrated at Kahumbu hill forest? I talked with Dankim, area resident and one of the event’s organisers. Here is what he had to say.
“Kahumbu ward is generally a hot, dry area. In dry seasons, water is a problem. Residents however have boreholes that run dry in case the dry weather prolongs. Vegetation cover helps in regulating weather by blocking rain carrying winds, purifying air and regulating humidity…” I cut him.
“Good. Now, why exactly was your inspiration?” I wanted to know.
“Well, thanks. We came up with this idea to protect and conserve Kahumbu forest and the area from threatening desertification. Nobody wants to experience the effects of desertification like hotter temperatures, reduced crop and animal production and oh yes, population.” He said.
Kahumbu hill forest has streams in heavy rains seasons that unfortunately dry up on advance of the dry season. The streams become temporary tributaries of R. Saba Saba the flows just below the hill.
“You planted 2,000 trees. Very commendable! How did you attain this,” I plied.
“Thank you. The organisers met and started to lobby for trees a month ago through Kigumo Reloaded WhatsApp group. Members responded well and started contributing money to buy the tree seedlings,” Dankim reminisced.
“We also approached the local authorities who supported us diligently. Hon Jamleck Kamau, Sabina Chege, sports CAS Zack Kinuthia, Wa Iria PA Muturi Karanja, Chege Mugane, Isaac Njoroge Chefman, Dr. Mike Gatogo among other leaders supported us too,” Dankim continued.
Indeed, the day was really active and colourful. The community together with other stakeholders were all joy as each planted tree seedlings into the Kahumbu hill forest soil.
The environment is a natural gift that unless we conserve, preserve and protect from pollution, life would be difficult and would even end. Environmental pollution is caused mainly by the following:
Man’s activities through uncontrolled: urbanization, industrialization, mining, farming, lumbering, nuclear technology, and exploration. Thus activities like deforestation, mismanagement of plastics and plastic products, release of contaminated water into water bodies, unsafe nuclear waste disposal, release of harmful gases into the atmosphere among others.
To protect the environment from pollution, environmental conservation measures need to be undertaken. These include, among others:
Reforestation; reafforestation; economic waste disposal techniques like recycling and careful reusing and burying plastics, cultivating reasonably far from river banks, use of solar and wind energy and keeping the environment clean.
Strict government policies protecting the environment from pollution factors. For instance, licencing lumberjacks to control deforestation; ensuring proper sewage and industrial waste disposal techniques are used; enforcing conservation measures like anti-poaching, over-fishing, mining and farming laws, enacting active natural calamities emergency response systems to fight forest fires, respond to flooding, landslides etc.
Each and everybody must ensure that the environment is protected from pollution. Everybody should be an environmental conservationist to ensure good, harmonious natural balance.
Indeed, Margaret Mead was right when she said, “never doubt that a group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed; it is the only thing that ever has.”
(Gîtaû wa Kung’u is a writer/political commentator with strong interests in Arts, Politics, Fashion and design)