Kenyan women MPs have teamed up with women organisations in a massive tree planting project in honour of the late environmentalist Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai.
The MPs through their parliamentary association- Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (Kewopa), announced Tuesday a plan to mobilise Kenyans to plant at least 400 million trees every year in efforts to restore the country's forest cover.
The campaign has been launched ahead of next week’s celebration of the World Environmental Day observed every June 5 and Kewopa says it is meant to take advantage of the rainy season.
Gichugu MP Martha Karua and Nominated MP Rachael Shebesh sounded the call at a session attended by women civil society representatives, among them League of Women voters representative Flora Shitsama and Women Political Alliance member Juliet Makokha.
It is estimated that Kenya needs to plant over 400 billion trees in order to attain the recommended minimum forest cover of 10 per cent.
The women leaders said the task cannot be left to the directorate of forests alone and requires all the 40 million Kenyans to participate.
“We are now suffering years of destroying and neglecting environmental conservation and we must act now or perish,” said Ms Shebesh.
Senior assistant director at the Kenya Forestry Service Charity Munyasia challenged every family to plant at least 10 trees each.
“Nobody can give an excuse of not having a 10 per cent cover on their land, however small it is,” she stated.
“Everybody has an opportunity to achieve this cover."
Ms Karua urged government agencies to join the effort and well-wishers to support the initiative by supporting the Forestry department to have enough supply of trees.
“Let us mobilise our constituencies to support the initiative,” she urged fellow MPs.
“Let us take responsibility and lets move forward together, if every Kenyan planted 10 trees, we shall make the change we need. Let us do what we can now."
Ms Shebesh urged Kenyan’s to carry on Prof Maathai’s dream of a sustainable environment.
“We are leading this drive to remember Maathai, this is a national issue beyond Nairobi,” she stated.