Explore alternative energy sources to save trees, says CS

Environment Cabinet secretary Keriako Tobiko has challenged the government to come up with alternative sources of energy to win battle over illegal logging and charcoal burning.

Speaking at Isinya and Namanga towns in his two-day tour of Kajiado county, the tough-talking CS said the battle on charcoal burning is far from over.

“Charcoal burning will only end if there is an alternative source of energy. Planting and nurturing trees will restore the waning forest cover if charcoal burning is eliminated,” he said.

He claimed forest destruction has been exacerbated by corrupt forest officers adding that corrupt officers will be sacked.

The former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) attributed the recent drought experienced to destruction of forests. “Planting trees is not enough, you should also take care of them,” he said.

The CS took issue with Kajiado illegal loggers, who are still burning charcoal despite the ban saying they will face the full force of the law.

Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku banned charcoal  trade in the county three weeks ago.  He formed a multi-agency team comprising county environment officers, Kenya Forest Service and Administration Police officers and ordered it to crack down on the illegal burning of charcoal, its transportation and the cutting of trees for commercial purposes.

Last week, Lenku ordered that all vehicles found transporting charcoal or timber be impounded and owners charged in court.

The ban has seen a bag of charcoal price for a 90-kilogramme bag increase to Sh3,000 from Sh800 a month ago.

Charcoal from Kajiado is on high demand after that from  West Pokot and Turkana because it is made from acacia trees which take many years to mature.

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