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Community groups unite to restore mangroves in Dongo Kundu amid development impact

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Environmentalists brave muddy waters to plant 2500 mangrove propagules.

A consortium of single mothers, Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWDs) and the youth have partnered to augment the government tree growing initiative through mangrove ecosystem conservation in Dongu Kundu.

The mangrove ecosystem in Dongo Kundu was adversely affected by the construction of the Sh22 billion Dongo Kundu bypass which entails the construction of bridges and a viaduct and the establishment of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in a 3000-acre land.

Faith Mureithi, Chairlady Nyumba ya Mumbi Women Dancers, a group that promotes the national heritage and Kikuyu heritage through dances said they have heeded the President’s call for organisations to join hands with the government in tree growing.

“We have borne the brunt of climate change. We have witnessed adverse effects of sun during sunny days and if it is rain it causes devastating effects as witnessed recently where many people lost their lives and properties,” said Mureithi.

“We have decided to unite and plant trees. Tree planting has enormous benefits especially these mangroves that prevent soil erosion by controlling the force of sea waves, it also the breeding ground for fishes, provides a clean environment, and the local community also produces honey as an income generating venture,” she added.

The groups lauded the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) for supporting the tree planting exercise encouraging other organisations to follow suit.

“By the end of the year, we are targeting to plant 10,000 trees. If we get the necessary support we will make our county beautiful,” said Mureithi.

Josphat Msungu, Representative of PLWDs said the Head of State directive on tree growing was clear. He appealed to organizations spearheading the tree-growing campaign not to leave behind PLWDs as they too want to be involved in government programs.

“As albinos, we rely on trees for our survival because the scorching sun affects our skin making us vulnerable to skin cancer. Tree growing is important to us and we must partake in the exercise,” said Msungu.

Evans Momanyi said in the degraded site below the Mtenza Bridge they have so far managed to plant 75,000 mangroves.

“Today we have panted 2500 mangroves. From here we will be moving to Kaya Bombo, Mwakuzimu, Magoda and KSG. We aim to augment government efforts in tree growing,” said Momanyi.

Momanyi called on Mombasa County Government to support groups involved in marine ecosystem conservation.

He also advised Dongo Kundu residents to prudently use the land compensation they will get from the government to improve their livelihoods.

Salim Madizi, an Organizing Secretary of Hatuchoki Dongo Kundu Self Help Group that has been planting mangroves in degraded areas as a result of the construction of the bypass promised to protect all the mangroves that will be planted in the area.

The trees, he said, will mitigate the effects of industrial pollution from the factories that will be set up in the 3000-acre Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

“Mangroves play a pivotal role in carbon sequestration. We want to plant mangroves around the SEZ to protect ourselves from the industries,” said Madizi.

The group was contracted to plant trees by the Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) along the Dongo Kundu bypass.

On his part, Moses Masoria urged Kenyans to make tree planting a routine exercise and not to wait for a national holiday.

To realise the 15 billion target by 2032 to mitigate against the adverse effects of climate change, and create adaptation and resilience among Kenyans, he encourages Kenyans to accelerate tree planting.

Hamadi Dende Village Elder vowed to ensure the mangroves are protected and will not be destroyed.

Rose Gitonga, United Single Parents urged the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to take stern action against factories that release harmful industrial waste to the sea endangering the marine ecosystem.

Haniel Mengistu
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