Group Blames KeNHA For Destroying Trees to Accommodate Nairobi Expressway

The Nairobi Express Way, with no single tree in sight

Mr Mwangi said Kenya had inherited 40% tree cover at independence but that has now dwindled to an alarming 7% and still counting. He said while Tanzania has 25% and Uganda 30% tree cover, Kenya’s forests cover has been declining at a rate of 10% annually

By The Weekly Vision Online

A lobby group, The Alliance for a Clean Environment has accused the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) of having cut down thousands of trees to pave way for the construction of the ongoing Nairobi Expressway.

Through a statement, the lobby group’s National Co-ordinator Paul Mwangi claimed that the country could become a desert in less than “10 years if the issue of deforestation is not halted, with devastating consequences” Mr Mwangi blamed the construction of the Nairobi Expressway which has affected wetlands and robbed the city of its natural protection from carbon emissions, fueling extreme heat.

Speaking virtually to stakeholders in Kenya, Mr Mwangi said Kenya had at independence inherited 40% tree cover but that has now dwindled to an alarming 7% and still counting. He said while Tanzania has 25% and Uganda 30% tree cover, Kenya’s forests cover has been declining at a rate of 10% annually.

He noted that while Kenya was among the first to support a global action against tree felling to conserve the environment during the world climate change conference in Glasgow, the country has weak laws and enforcers were no longer bothered in stopping agencies like KeNHA and others from destroying trees

He said matters were not helped by the murder last year of a British born conservationist M/S Joan Stuchburry in her Kiambu forest home. “It is disturbing that the killers are yet to be brought to book,” he said adding that environmentalists have become an “endangered species” from heartless land grabbers.

He noted that while Kenya was among the first to support a global action against tree felling to conserve the environment during the world climate change conference in Glasgow, the country has weak laws and enforcers were no longer bothered in stopping agencies like KeNHA and others from destroying trees.

Mwangi said Kenya’s traditional breadbaskets like Kibwezi had become semi-arid due to deforestation and no longer produced enough food making the area one of the famine-stricken regions in the country. Other areas in Trans Nzoia in the Rift Valley have also suffered severe climate changes, due to the loss of forest cover triggering an unpredictable weather pattern.  

“This practice must stop,” he said appealing to KeNHA and other stakeholders to use this year day of the environment to plant 10 trees for each one they cut down.”

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