Taita Taveta County Marks International Forest Day With A Commitment To Revive Kishenyi Dam

Taita Taveta County joined the rest of the world in marking World International Forest Day with a resounding commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable development, as efforts to revive the once-drying Kishenyi Dam took centre stage.

In a symbolic gesture of unity and resilience, community members gathered at the dam to plant 2,000 bamboo and indigenous tree seedlings, reaffirming their dedication to bolstering global forest cover, a move that resonates with President William Ruto’s agenda to plant 15 billion trees by 2032.

Under the visionary leadership of Governor Andrew Mwadime, the county’s mission to rejuvenate Kishenyi Dam stands as a testament to the inherent link between forest conservation and water resource management.

The governor’s manifesto underscores the importance of nurturing trees to safeguard vital water sources and mitigate the impacts of climate change, a vision in tandem with the agenda of the national government.

While addressing the gathering of locals, Taita sub-coun
ty assistant county commissioner, Ngunyi Maina reiterated the importance of the initiative of expanding forest cover, stating that it plays a vital role in precipitation attraction and combatting desertification, a looming threat worldwide.

Grantone Mwandawiro, the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) responsible for Water, Sanitation, Environment, Climate Change, and Natural Resources, emphasized the multifaceted benefits of trees, citing their capacity to create cooling microclimates crucial for biodiversity preservation and climate resilience.

Mwandawiro added, ‘These trees that we are planting will not only help in preventing soil erosion around this dam but will also prevent the lands around this place from being wasted and becoming inhabitable.’

He noted that the activity is part and parcel of the county’s agenda to plant about 59 million trees annually.

The revival of Kishenyi Dam holds profound significance, as it serves as a saddening reminder of the stark realities of climate change. Having
dried up for the first time in recorded history just last year, the resurrection of the dam symbolizes the triumph of collective action and environmental stewardship.

Kenya Forest Services (KFS) conservator, Peter Mwangi, reiterated the ecological importance of tree planting along the dam’s periphery, stating that it will play the role of mitigating erosion and siltation, thereby safeguarding water quality and ensuring the longevity of the vital water body.

‘We have talked to the community living around this dam, and they have agreed to plant trees not only around this dam but also in their respective lands. They are suggesting planting fruit trees, although today we are planting Bamboo trees. In Taita, we aim to plant about 59 million per year to help improve our forests and give us a good environment,’ said Mwangi.

The event, a collaborative endeavour between the national government, KFS, Nature Kenya, and Action Aid, exemplifies the power of synergy in addressing pressing global challenges.

Through con
certed efforts and community engagement, Taita Taveta County sets a compelling example of proactive environmental conservation and sustainable development, echoing the spirit of International Forest Day on a local scale with global implications.

Source: Kenya News Agency