Speaking during the event, the Environment CS expressed his gratitude to KDF personnel for the efforts they had put in participating in activities centered on environmental protection, mentioning that the world at large had made a paradigm shift, where the military was not only expected to protect a country from external aggression, but to also participate in protection of the country’s assets which included forests, terming the day’s events as completely legitimate.
He noted that Kenyans would not only be proud of the military for their sacrifices on battle and within the country, but for the award winning Environmental Soldier Program, which despite being unknown by many outside the military, had made outstanding and remarkable steps in reviving Kenya’s water towers and forests in general, where KDF personnel had continued to plant trees to the number of millions.
“Destruction of forests has been detrimental to the water towers of our country, eventually having a negative impact on the nation’s economy, and it is the high time we all step up in ensuring that the goal of reaching 10% forest cover by the year 2022 is achieved, and even surpassed. As the military, we know you have many commitments elsewhere, but you will be called upon to join hands with other Kenyans in environmental programs, that include solid waste management, recycling, climate change awareness among others”, he said.
At the same time, the CS urged for continued cooperation between the KDF and environmental stakeholders, noting that KDF personnel would soon be invited to join hands with county governments in cleaning up of Kenyan cities and towns, which he mentioned as having been heavily affected by human activity.
Speaking at the same venue, Principal Secretary for Environment Charles Sunkuli thanked military personnel for having left their busy schedule to be part of the important exercise.
During the event, Kenya Defence Forces personnel from the Embakasi, Kahawa and Defence Headquarters Camp Admin Unit managed to plant over 4000 tree seedlings, and adopted the Kibiku forest, where over 2 million tree seedlings are expected to be planted. KDF also adopted the Oloolua forest also within the Ngong area, where another 1 million tree seedlings are expected to be planted under the Environmental Soldier Program. A handful of pupils from the neighboring Riunderi Primary School the public living around the forest joined in the exercise.
Present at the event included the Deputy Director of the Kenya Forest Service (Chief Conservatoire Forests) Emilio Omollo, Defence Headquarters Commandant Camp Admin Unit Colonel Jacob Ondieki, Colonel in charge of Civilian-Military Operations Samuel Wamwayi, Head and Coordinator Environmental Soldier Program Major David Wando, KDF Officers and KDF personnel.
The International Day of Forests was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 and is marked annually on 21 March. In Kenya the 2018 main celebrations were held at the Karura Forest and were presided over by the Environment CS Keriako Tobiko. This year’s theme was “Forests and Sustainable Cities”
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