The Department of Water, Environment and Natural Resources will soon begin a survey of forests across the county in an effort to protect forest cover from further depletion.
This move, the ministry says, will form the basis for a report which will identify forests to be gazetted.
First Lady Dr. Mary Lonyangapuo who led the celebrations held at Propoi Girls Secondary School in Chepareria, called on the residents of West Pokot to be on the forefront when it comes to protection of the environment.
|The First Lady addressing guests during the event|
She pointed out that logging and charcoal burning has had a huge negative impact on the environment.
“Trees are our life and so is water. We cannot continue to cut down trees as we are doing now. By 2030, we should have achieved 10% forest cover. It will only be possible if we start protecting our forests now,” she said.
She also asked the county government to set aside enough funds towards conservation initiatives.
This comes as statistics shows that West Pokot County has only 4.4% forest cover, against the international recommended, 10%.
CECM Water, Environment and Natural resources Jackson Yaralima said that his department has commenced on plans to integrate the county, Kenya Forest Service, private entities and the public as part of the team that will spearhead tree planting programs.
He said that his ministry is aware of the destruction of forests that has been going on, maintaining that he will not tolerate any more destruction of trees.
“As you have heard, we are lagging behind in forest cover. As a means to correct this, we shall ensure that every ward has a county tree nursery so that our people can learn from it. We need to embrace tree planting as a way of life.”
|The First Lady plants a tree|
His Chief Officers Milka Psiwa-Water and Peter Adoki-Environment & Natural resources echoed his sentiments while asking the residents to report anyone involved in charcoal business.
The United Nations general assembly on 28th Nov, 2012 established and proclaimed 21st March to be the International Day of Forests.
The significance of this day is for people to celebrate and create awareness on the importance of protecting the forest cover all over the world.
Research done by the UN indicates that each year over 10 million hectares of forest are lost.
|The guests join in a dance|
This year's theme “Forest for Sustainable Cities” focuses on the need to ensure that urban areas preserve the environment through planting and conservations of trees.
Present during the celebrations were CECM Augustine Monges-Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Kenya Forest Service officials, Members of the County Assembly, Deputy County Commissioner, Kipkomo among other others.