New Delhi: Kenya’s government has declared a public holiday on November 13 to promote a nationwide tree-planting initiative. Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki announced the holiday through a notice on the social media platform X, following a cabinet meeting led by President William Ruto. The government aims to plant 15 billion trees by 2032 to combat the effects of climate change, as Kenya’s current forest cover is only about 7%. They have allocated over $80 million this fiscal year to increase tree cover to more than 10%.
“The Government has declared a special holiday on Monday, November 13, 2023, during which the public across the Country shall be expected to plant trees as a patriotic contribution to the national efforts to save our Country from the devastating effects of Climate Change,” said Kindiki.
Following the decision of the Cabinet sitting in Mombasa on Friday November 3, 2023, the Government has declared a special holiday on Monday, November 13, 2023, during which the public across the Country shall be expected to plant trees as a patriotic contribution to the national… pic.twitter.com/0gFelFnjKM
— Kithure Kindiki (@KindikiKithure) November 6, 2023
Trees play a crucial role in storing carbon, a major contributor to global warming. Deforestation accelerates climate change by halting plant photosynthesis and releasing carbon dioxide through burning. Kenya, like other regions, is experiencing worsening droughts due to climate change.
The Kenyan Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry will supply tree seedlings for the event, demonstrating the government’s commitment to climate action. “It is a moment for Kenyans to stand in solidarity in the defense of our environment, it’s a ‘hummingbird’ contribution day, all of us pulling together to fight back the climate change crisis “said Environment Minister Soipan Tuya.
President Ruto has prioritized the National Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration Program since taking office in September 2022. His efforts received praise from King Charles III, who recently visited Kenya and commended the country’s ambitious goal to plant 15 billion trees. During his visit, King Charles planted a tree at the State House in Nairobi and at the Karura forest, associated with the late environmentalist and Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai.