The spouse of the Deputy President, Pastor Dorcas Rigathi, launched the first batch of 12 million tree seedlings that would be planted this financial year under the Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (TARDA) this financial year. The launch was at Kanyama Borehole Site in Kiamukuyu Ward, Mathira West, Nyeri County.
The TARDA 12 million trees target aligns with the Presidential Directive of planting 15 billion trees by the year 2032.
Pastor Dorcas encouraged Kenyans to engage in tree planting, saying the vast forests and water towers were strategic carbon sinks that could be used as collateral for international financing from climate change actions.
Carbon sinks rid the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and include forests, soils, and oceans, which Kenya is well endowed. However, carbon sources release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and include actions such as deforestation, industrial activities, the burning of fuels, and volcanic eruptions.
“Many of the problems we are facing in terms of climate change in Africa were created by the developed world, but we cannot afford to sit back and lament; we have to take action,” said Pastor Dorcas.
Pastor Dorcas added that Kenya hosting the Africa Climate Summit was a sign of the government’s commitment to implementing climate change actions and greening our environment.
“There is no greater gift we can give to our grandchildren than handing them an earth that is healthy with all kinds of fruits that they will be able to call their own. History will judge us ever so harshly if we hand a polluted planet to the next generation, who had nothing to do with our actions or inactions,” she said.
Area MP Eric Wamumbi was also present and participated in the tree planting exercise.
The Chairman of TARDA, Patrick Gichohi, said the launch at Mathira West marked the beginning of the journey of planting the 12 million trees targeted by TARDA.
“We shall plant 12 million trees this financial year, of which 540,000 will be fruit trees, and engage the communities in this work of greening our environment,” said Gichohi.
During the launch, 21,000 seedlings were distributed to the people, and others were planted at the Kanyama Borehole Site in Kirimukuyu ward.
Gichohi encouraged Kenyans to care for the trees until they mature. He said, “In developed countries, they inspect the trees every three months to measure their growth. When you plant a tree, it is not a ceremony but a commitment.”
The youth were encouraged to establish tree nurseries, which they would trade in and make a living.