Tobiko raises alarm over destruction of water points

Environment and forestry CS Keriako Tobiko at a past environmental summon. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Nairobi,KENYA:Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary, Keriako Tobiko has sounded an environmental alarm on the over exploitation of water resources especially from Mt Kenya rivers, adversely affecting forest conservation efforts .

Accompanied by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) Chairman Mr. Peter Kinyua among other senior officers, Tobiko undertook an aerial and ground survey across the Mt Kenya region ,he stumbled on tens of water intake points.

While discounting earlier reports alleging that suspected illegal loggers are breaching the current logging moratorium, Tobiko said a multi-agency surveillance team had not established any serious illegal logging or destruction of the forest.

“However, it is clear that there’s massive over exploitation upstream of water resources. In Sagana river, there are about 75 intake points and 45 on Thegu river which is disproportionately high,” Tobiko said.

He promised to consult and liaise with his Ministry of Water and Sanitation counterpart Simon Chelugui, to undertake a study geared at rationalizing the utilization of water resources from Mt Kenya forest.

Tobiko, at the same time warned suspected illegal loggers against breaching the current logging moratorium. The suspected loggers have been sneaking to Gazetted Forests around Mt Kenya and sneaking out timber logs to saw millers in the vicinity.

Tobiko stressed that the moratorium against logging was still in force.

Security surveillance by a multi-agency unit, he said has been beefed up to nab unscrupulous individuals undertaking illegal retrieval of forest products.

Tobiko also warned that suspects undertaking illicit activities in gazetted forests will be dealt with the full force of the law.

“Protecting our environment and forests is a shared responsibility that we shall relentlessly pursue to make our cities, among other urban and rural towns, environmental centres of excellence,” Tobiko reiterated.

Consequently ,Tobiko reiterated that the six-month extension on the earlier 90-day moratorium was still in force.

The moratorium extension issued at the end of May, he said will remain in force as efforts to streamline the management of the local forestry sector get into high gear.

This follows the recent appoint of a substantive KFS Board of Management.