Plant-a-Future initiative now has over 750,000 trees planted since 2007
Kenya Airways, the Pride of Africa lead other corporates and organizations in boosting government efforts to increase the national forest cover by planting a record 250,000 trees at the Ngong Hills forest over the weekend.
The trees planted through the “Plant-a-Future” initiative, has seen the Pride of Africa team up with other organisations since 2007, in various environmental activities geared to boost the national forest cover from the current 2% to the targeted 10% as pe the country’s development blueprint, Vision 2030.
Speaking at this year’s tree planting exercise, Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer Dr. Titus Naikuni noted, that the airline’s participation has been fuelled by the commitment to protect the Ngong Hills ecosystem. “This ecosystem is directly within our flight path and that is why we have over the past four years remained firm on our commitment planting trees each year in order to boost the Ngong Hills ecosystem”, he added.
Naikuni noted that while significant progress was made in the first and second phases of the project, the third phase was affected by the prolonged drought in 2009 that saw many of the seedlings drying up. In 2010 the plant a future initiative focused on replacing the seedlings that were affected by the drought. 90,000 indigenous seedlings were planted as replacements, in a addition to 30,000 seedlings in the surrounding area.
“The plan this year is to plant 250,000 indigenous tree seedlings that will also act as replacements for the seedlings that have died over the past few years,” he said.
Officers from the Kenya Airforce and Kenya Wildlife Services participated in this year’s event, held at the onset of the long rains.
Other stakeholders involved in this initiative included engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce which has used its “engineering expertise to reduce aircraft fuel burn by 70 per cent and noise by 75 per cent, The Coca-Cola Limited, KLM, the Ministry of Forestry, Kenya Forestry services the University of Nairobi’s Forestry Department, Rotaract and the local community.
The “Plant-a-Future” initiative was launched in April 2007, and has so far seen over 500,000 indigenous trees planted in the Ngong Hills Forest. This year, a further 250,000 trees have been planted bringing the total to 750,000 trees.
The Ngong Forest ecosystem which supports most of the rivers and springs that feed into Nairobi’s has suffered extensive damage in the last 12 years compromising the water supply to city residents.
Dr. Naikuni further noted that Kenya Airways was committed to supporting initiatives that will ensure the sustainable use of natural resources. The Ngong Hills reforestation program is one of the many initiatives that Kenya Airways is undertaking to reduce its carbon footprint in line with international environmental and aviation standards. This includes the airline’s on-going fleet modernisation program that will see the airline phase out older model planes and bring into service modern, fuel efficient carriers.
The area where the trees were planted has been reclaimed by the Government of Kenya and gazetted for reforestation as part of rehabilitating a formerly large river catchment area. Only indigenous tree seedlings have been planted in the last four years owing to their unique soil erosion protection abilities. The Ngong Forest catchment area requires 3 million indigenous trees to fully recover.