NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 5 – Kenyans were on Tuesday urged to exercise self responsibility to protect the environment as the globe marked the 40th anniversary of the World Environment Day.
In an Interview with Capital FM News, Nicholas Okeya of Green Africa Foundation expressed concerns that Kenyans perceive tree planting as the only intervention in preserving the environment.
“Many Kenyans don’t understand what the environment is. The environment is not just about planting trees. It encompasses many spheres of life and should start from within oneself. Planting trees is one of the many things we need to do to have good environment,” he said.
He was apprehensive that many Kenyans are less concerned about ensuring a clean environment, complaining that people litter as they drive, walk and even stay in their homes.
He regretted that despite the environment having a heavy impact on health, the economy and general lives of people, Kenya is miles away from learning the basics of protecting its environment.
According to him, the World Environment Day is a reminder that everyone has a responsibility to preserve the environment to avert the impact of climate change which is already a reality.
“All Kenyans should do something. It is not only for the government do ensure a clean environment. Kenyans have not started making any progress yet. People feel comfortable living in garbage,” he said.
Green Africa Foundation Project Officer Obed Koringo appealed to the government to fund special desks in all relevant ministries explaining that issues on environment cut across and should not be left only to the Environment Ministry alone.
He said it was also critical that vigorous campaigns to create awareness on climate change be strategised to ensure they reach people at the grassroots.
According to Koringo, Kenya should be keen on ensuring discussions on climate change are not confined to the boardroom.
“Much of the awareness is concentrated in towns. We forget the real people who need this information are at the local level. People need to understand what is happening. On this day we are reminded to go back to the people and give them this information,” he advised.
Due to climate change, he pointed out that seasons had changed, which he said required farmers to be informed on better farming methods, such as changes in planting seasons and the need for planting drought resistant crops.
He further said it was necessary to help Kenyans to change their lifestyles to cope with the effects of climate change with keen interest to ensure food security.
Each year, the World Environment Day is hosted by a different country and this year the host is Brazil under the theme, Green Economy: Does it include you?
In Nairobi, Prime Minister Raila Odinga planted a tree at Karura Forest as he led Kenyans in marking the day.