• Nyong’o said the city has one of the lowest forest covers in the country at about 1.55 per cent against a national figure of 12.13 percent.
• Greening aims to address climate change and boost the city's aesthetics. A nusery will be called the Baby Pendo Project growing seedlings.
The Kisumu county government has partnered with institutions to plant three million trees across the city.
The greening initiative aims to address climate change and improve the city's aesthetics.
The three-year initiative by the county Standard Chartered Bank, the Judiciary, theUniversity of Nairobi, Kisumu Environmental Champions and AAR Kenya will also help boost forest cover in Kisumu.
Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong’o said the project was in response to the current low forest cover.
Nyong’o said the city currently has one of the lowest forest covers in the country at about 1.55 per cent against a national figure of 12.13 per cent.
This, he said, was very poor, and he called on stakeholders to take swift action by urgently planting planting many trees. He spoke during the launch of the tree planting initiative along the airport corridor.
Nyong’o said rapid urbanisation continued to put pressure on the city’s existing natural resources, threatening their existence.
The county boss said through the greening initiative, they will help to address the challenge.
Nyong’o said the county government through the partnership with the Standard Chartered Bank is establishing a threes-acre tree nursery at Slaughter House in Mamboleo.
“The nursery will grow the three million seedlings to boost forest cover to seven per cent by the year 2027,” he said.
Nyong’o said the tree nursery will be managed in partnership with private tree nursery champions with technical support from the Kenya Forest Service and Kenya Forestry Research Institute (Kefri).
He pointed out that the nursery will have a variety of indigenous trees, exotic trees and a wide variety of fruit trees to be planted in learning institutions and homesteads.
“The greening initiative is critical and timely for our city. It will help tackle some of the significant environmental challenges we face and promote sustainable development,” Nyong’o said.
The nursery will also be used for training community groups on best practices for management of tree nurseries.
“We shall work together with the bank to establish a City Arboretum at the decommissioned Kachok dumpsite as part of the Baby Pendo project. The Arboretum will be planted with trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants for scientific and educational purposes,” he said.
The governor said his government has issued an executive order setting aside the 10th day of every month as a tree planting day for all city residents.
“This is envisaged to give momentum to the collective mobilisation and active participation of all stakeholders in driving the tree planting agenda,” Nyong’o said.
He said the city and urban areas continue to attract populations from the hinterland, putting pressure on the urban space, necessitating robust and dynamic planning to ensure sustainability.
Climate change has more recently become a real challenge, with cities major contributors to carbon footprints and Kisumu city is no exception.
The city has emerged as a major administrative, commercial services and business hub, not only for the western part of the country, but with significant influence within the entire East African region.
Kisumu city acting manager Abala Wanga also emphasised the need to conserve the environment through massive tree planting.
“We should all be responsible in conserving our environment to make it more habitable. A healthy environment is vital for us,” he said.
Abala said they initiated strategic programmes and plans to ensure sustainable management of the city’s environment.
The Kisumu city-wide greening and beautification initiative is one of the interventions under the strategic objective of, “transforming the city through enhanced infrastructure initiatives”.
“The initiative is critical and timely for our city as it aims to address some of the significant environmental challenges we face and promote sustainable development,” he said.
(Edited by V. Graham)