Prof' Maathai giving the opening speech moments before the campaing launch
The event began at 9.00 am with a welcome note from Prof Wangari Maathai opened. Her welcome note focused on the need to protect water catchment areas. She decried the rampant destruction of water catchment areas mainly due to human settlements; deforestation and land grabbing actions which she noted led to rainfall decrease rendering the arable lands unproductive. She also noted that the pastoralist communities living in the eastern lowlands were severely hit by inadequate pastures for their livestock.
Two of the CE Kenya representatives (Eva dnd Perez) listening to the speech
To kick off the event she officially launched the campaign which is supposed to run for the next 1 year. The campaign will see all the grabbed forest reserves being reclaimed and new trees planted. All the wetlands are also going to be reclaimed and fenced off in order to keep encroachers at bay. There are a total of 7 sites around the Nairobi region that are earmarked for the rejuvenation. The community based organizations will help to maintain the seedlings as well as educating the masses the need to protect the wetlands.
Proud to be an enthuthiastic conservator!
As the planting commenced, tens of seedlings were planted but within a short period. The CEK was represented by 4 members who helped to plant a sizeable number of trees.
The event was momentarily disrupted by a group protesting ear marked demolition of residential property that had been built on a protected area. The situation was however quickly resolved by the District Commissioner who arrived shortly with a consignment of riot police to restore calm.
Members of one of the groups during the event.
The event was closed by the assistant director of Green Belt Movement Prof. Karanja who addressed the public at the site. He thanked the attendees for their good work and urged them to continue. He reiterated the need to have concerted efforts in environmental conservation education at all levels. He added that the current prolonged draught plus the rampant crop failures in the farms was all as a result of the massive destruction of water catchment areas.
A good day....it was..!