Open letter to James Orengo - Daily Nation

Open letter to James Orengo

Sunday July 12 2009

The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) has been allocated land in Karura Forest.

The Green Belt Movement is strongly opposed to this because it is not in the public interest. The forest provides important environmental services to the city and its environs.

Indeed as an emerging metropolis, Nairobi is lucky to have a forest that improves air quality, is a source of several rivers, a home to rich biodiversity including plants, birds, mammals and insects.

All these make Nairobi a beautiful and livable city. Nairobi people saved Karura and it would be tragic if they lost it.

Kenya continues to suffer from the impact of environmental degradation partly because it has less than 2 per cent of its land covered with forest (Unep recommends at least 10 per cent).

It is shocking therefore, that Nema would even accept land in Karura Forest and open the door for other institutions to find justification for land in the same forest. Before long, even individuals will be back in Karura!

Nema and the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) should be custodians and guardians of Karura. Instead, Nema is spearheading the complete destruction of the forest.

Karura must be saved and Nema, or any other institution, will not save it by building its headquarters there.

But recent efforts by the wife of the British High Commissioner, Mrs. Alice Macaire, to create nature trails and an education facility in Karura forest, especially for children, will. Such are the activities that should be encouraged.

Mr Lands minister James Orengo, I remember our gallant efforts to save Karura from the greedy and selfish leaders of the 90s.

The Press too, was at the forefront. There should be some respect for the people of Nairobi. Nema, should look elsewhere for land.

WANGARI MAATHAI,
Goodwill Ambassador of the Congo Basin Forest Ecosystem
Nairobi