Public holiday in Kenya to plant 100 million trees

Kenyans have been given a special holiday to plant 100 million trees as part of the government’s goal to plant 15 billion trees in 10 years.

The holiday allows “each and every Kenyan to own the initia­tive”, according to Environment, Minister Soipan Tuya.

Each Kenyan is being encour­aged to plant at least two seedlings, leading to the 100-million target.

The initiative is intended to help fight climate change.

Trees help tackle global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide from the air while releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.

The government is making avail­able about 150 million seedlings in public nurseries.

It is providing the seedlings for free at its forest agency centres for Kenyans to plant in designated public areas.

But it has also encouraged Ken­yans to buy at least two seedlings to plant on their own land.

President William Ruto led the exercise in Makueni in the east of the country. Cabinet ministers were sent to other regions to lead the process alongside county gover­nors and other officials.

At one site near the source of Kenya’s second-longest river, Athi, there were dozens of people, including soldiers and residents, some with their families.

“I have come together with my colleagues, I’m happy to be here to show my love for the environ­ment,” student, Wycliffe Kamau, told the BBC.

“I have come to plant trees here, because our water levels have been diminishing. Even here at the river source, the levels are very low, trees have been cleared,” said local resident, Stephen Chelulei.

“We need to reverse climate change so that our children can have a place to live when we are no longer there.”

However, many people, especial­ly in the cities, are unlikely to take part and will just take advantage of the extra holiday.

The tree planting will be mon­itored through an internet app, which monitors the exercise by allowing individuals and organisa­tions to record activities, including the plant species, number and date planted.

The Jaza Miti app will also help people plant the appropriate seed­lings by matching the site with the appropriate species, according to the environment ministry.

Ms Tuya told local Citizen TV on Sunday night that the response had been “amazing” and there had already been two million registra­tions on the app by Sunday.

She, however, said the plant­ing would not happen in the north-eastern region, where there have been floods.