The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko led Kenyans in marking World Environment Day at Garissa University, Garissa County. The theme for this year’s celebrations was Ecosystem Restoration with the slogan Reimagine-Recreate-Restore.
CS Keriako Tobiko with CAS Mercy Mwangangi during tree planting at Garissa University
The CS kicked off the celebrations by unveiling recycle bins that were donated to the University by Petco Ltd. The bins were donated in a bid to educate students on the importance of segregation and proper disposal of waste. Petco assured the CS that the company would undertake collection of the waste and ensure that recycling is done.
Hon. Mohamed Hire, MP for Lagdera in his remarks pointed out that Garissa County has immense environmental potential which has been ignored and underutilized. He pointed out that the residents needed to appreciate that there are other economic activities they can occupy themselves with apart from charcoal burning and animal grazing. He urged the constituents to embrace environmental conservation and preservation activities.
PS Chris Kiptoo stated that as much as the country has achieved 80% success on the ban on plastics, 20% is the responsibility of citizens who need to embrace and enforce the ban. “The government can make declarations and pass bills, but the onus is on each and every one of us to embrace and enforce these rules. The government cannot police everyone,” he said.
He further reported that a policy is in the pipeline which seeks to encourage a paradigm shift from a linear to circular model in order for the public to view waste as wealth. The PS also pointed out that KEFRI has been supported to increase seed centers from 6 to 18 around the country with a view of producing 200 metric tonnes of seeds per year. Garissa is earmarked to receive 42.5 metric tonnes.
Speaking during the celebrations, CS Keriako Tobiko announced that the celebrations also marked the launch of the UN Decade on Eco-System Restoration 2021-2030. The program is designed as a global movement that can end poverty, hunger, malnutrition, gender inequality and the degradation of ecosystems by harnessing the power of nature and local communities.
The CS explained that Garissa University was chosen as the venue for this year’s World Environment Day celebrations in order to show the world that Kenyans are resilient despite the attack that took place at the University in 2015 where 148 students lost their lives. 1000 trees were planted next to the hostel in which the attack occurred in commemoration of the departed souls.
Dr. Jane Njuguna, Senior Deputy Director Research and Development KEFRI and staff from KEFRI Kitui and Garissa centres joined the Ministry in marking the event which included cleanup activities and tree planting in primary and secondary schools.
Recycling bins unveiled at Garissa University during World Environment Day celebrations