Today marks the inaugural National Tree Growing Day in Kenya, following a surprise announcement last week by President William Ruto. He has taken the lead in today’s nationwide tree planting exercise.Kenyans have been granted a special holiday to plant 100 million trees, aligning with the government’s goal of planting 15 billion trees over the next 10 years.
● Today is a public holiday in Kenya dedicated to planting trees
● President William Ruto has vowed to plant 15 billion trees within the next 10 years
● Heavy rains reported in Nairobi did not stop planting events
Despite heavy downpours, individuals, organizations, and members of the public, including children, planted seedlings in the capital, Nairobi. This planting exercise extends across the country.
However, it remains to be seen whether Kenya will plant 100 million trees today. Last week, the Kenyan government stated that citizens are expected to plant trees as a patriotic contribution to national efforts to combat the devastating effects of climate change.
The special tree planting holiday, aimed at aiding land restoration efforts, has been met with positive responses. Despite the pouring rain, officials, students, and families gathered in various locations in the capital to plant seedlings. Some moments were shared on the popular platform, X (formerly Twitter), where Ruto also showcased his participation in the initiative.
Local farmer Allan Kidiga posted on X at 5am, “Morning, morning my fellow countrymen, Kenyans wake up! We are late for planting trees and it’s already raining to ensure the trees don’t dry out.”
Groups such as the Kenya Red Cross, UNDP Kenya, Kenya National Farmers’ Federation, Kenyatta University, Kenya Wildlife Service, various banks, and many schools participated in the event and shared their experiences on the X platform.
Government official Joan Kirika told AFP, “I have planted more than 50 trees today. I think this is a powerful and necessary initiative for the planet, especially after experiencing a dramatic drought in Kenya for several consecutive seasons. I hope we continue to celebrate this day annually, not necessarily as a holiday, but a yearly reminder to care about the environment and think about the planet.”
Environment Minister Soipan Tuya states that the holiday allows “each and every Kenyan to own the initiative”. Each Kenyan is encouraged to plant at least two seedlings, contributing to the 100-million target.
This initiative is designed to combat climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, helping mitigate global warming.
The government is supplying around 150 million seedlings in public nurseries and offering seedlings for free at its forest agency centres for planting in public areas. However, Kenyans are also encouraged to purchase at least two seedlings to plant on their own land.
President William Ruto is leading the exercise in Makueni, in the east of the country. Cabinet ministers and county governors are spearheading the process in other regions.
The tree planting will be monitored through the Jaza Miti app, which records planting activities, including the plant species, number, and planting date. According to the environment ministry, the app also aids in selecting the appropriate seedlings by matching the site with suitable species.