NAIROBI PARK DIARY

The lungs of Nairobi

Trees are crucial in climate control

In Summary

• They give oxygen, improve air quality, conserve water, preserve soil, support wildlife

A lion jumps off a tree
A lion jumps off a tree
Image: GARETH JONES

It is the desire of any sane and normal human being to want fresh, clean air to ensure optimum personal health. In many large global cities, there are major air pollution issues, and as Nairobi explodes into a megacity, so the challenge to have clean air increases daily, with an ever growing vehicle population and much combustion across the area.

Trees contribute to the environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate control, conserving water, preserving soil and supporting wildlife. During the process of photosynthesis, trees take in carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we breathe.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the daily needs of 5850 people."  

Therefore with an area of 117 sq km ( 28900 acres )  the Nairobi National Park has less than 25% of the area covered with forest (approx. 7225 acres), this is enough for the daily oxygen needs of about 4200000 people.  

Trees, shrubs and turf also filter air by removing dust and absorbing other pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. Clearly greater Nairobi needs thousands of trees.

I am often reminded of the responsibility this generation has to ensure the future of the Park. Every tree makes a difference, as the Nairobi national park plays an important role in suppling oxygen and clean air for Nairobi. All protected forested areas in greater Nairobi are literally the “lungs of Nairobi”. Just another important reason to ensure trees are there for the future.

It is therefore critically important that apart from endangered wildlife the Nairobi National Park must be protected by the Government of Kenya, and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS)  must remain empowered to ensure that this wonderful diversity of tree species remains intact as a heritage for future generation to cherish.

 For more information on the park link to the website www.kws.go.ke