, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 5 – In efforts towards marking the World Environment Day the Nairobi Greenline initiative planted over 50,000 trees in a bid to save the Nairobi National Park from further encroachment and environmental degradation caused by urbanisation.
“Today, Kenyans will show their resolve towards protecting the environment by planting over 50,000 trees to protect one of its most treasured heritage and natural resource, the Nairobi National Park,” said assistant Forestry Minister Josephat Nanok.
He also noted that the National Park is a unique wildlife sanctuary and the only one in the world that borders the capital city.
To commemorate the day, the event was marked by participants creating a 3,500 strong human greenline chain inside the National Park by holding their hands together to show their resolve towards the conservation of this national treasure and heritage.
The Nairobi greenline is a partnership between the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) that intends to plant and grow a 30-kilometre long, 50-metre wide forest of indigenous trees from the Cheetah Gate in Athi-River to the Carnivore to protect the Park.
“We aim to create the Nairobi Greenline a world landmark similar to the Great Wall of China. This will protect the Park from land grabbers and polluters, who are the Park’s biggest threat,” said KWS Managing Director Dr Julius Kip’ngetich.
He also added that industrialisation of Athi River Town and the proximity of Nairobi to the park have exposed this unique animal sanctuary to negative environmental impacts.
The 117 square kilometre park is located 10 kilometres from the city centre. It is surrounded by ranches and farmland, hotels, industries and slum dwellers that dump their garbage in the “open spaces” within the park and discharge toxic chemicals in the river.
Kenya Association of Manufacturer, Chairman Vimal Shah said captains of Kenya’s industries were determined to be part of the solution to protect the park.
“KAM identified Greenline as the initiative through which to promote industry’s response to environmental challenges as part of KAM’s 50th Anniversary celebrations which end later this month,” he added.
He also noted that the world over, there is heightened public awareness of global climate change and its impact on water, biodiversity, and agriculture and that’s the reason why playing our part here today is a clear step forward on that journey,” he added
Environmental experts estimate that Kenya must plant over seven billion trees to achieve the minimum 10 percent forest cover recommended by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP).
The experts say Kenya\’s forest cover has reduced to less than 2 per cent of her land area, with most of the damage attributed to illegal logging, human settlement and land grabbing.
The initiative will help Government address effort of increasing the country’s forest cover from the current 1 per cent to 10 per cent.