In May, residents of Milimani, Ngong were shocked when they collected over 1,000 used condoms left behind by merrymakers from Nairobi.
Empty face masks, whiskey and wine bottles were also disposed of indiscriminately; the residents said they polluted the environment.
Environment CS Keriako Tobiko has tasked the Kenya Forest Service to stop such rendezvous immediately.
Instead, Tobiko wants KFS to figure out how the forest can generate revenue sustainably.
“Fast-track the development of a master plan and identify quick wins that will transform this resource,” Tobiko said on Wednesday.
Tobiko met KFS officials and members of the Ngong Metro Community Forest Association (CFA) for consultations at the forest.
The meeting was aimed at enhancing conservation, management, and protection of Ngong Hills Forest in Kajiado County.
KFS Chief Conservator Julius Kamau, CFA representatives and officials from Kiserian and Ongata Rongai Residents Association, and Rotary Clubs of Ngong and Ongata Rongai, were present.
Tobiko said Ngong Hills Forest is blessed with opportunities that need to be harnessed for the benefit of the public and state.
The forest has received over 3,000 visitors for recreation and relaxation mainly over weekends during the Covid-19 period.
The rise in traffic has increased revenue collection registered by KFS.
Tobiko tasked KFS and stakeholders with forming a team to fast-track a Ngong Hills Forest Collaborative Framework.
The team has three weeks to identify products that would benefit members of the public and in turn increase the value of the forest.
The framework will also seek to enhance partnerships for restoration and rehabilitation of the degraded areas of the forest.
An ‘Adopt a Forest’ approach where both state and corporates will grow trees and raise resources to fence the forest, will be adopted.
KFS will train community forest scouts to complement efforts by the government in securing the resource.
The service will also scale up ongoing efforts in supporting the establishment of community tree nurseries.
Forest-adjacent communities will sell these site-matched tree seedlings to partners to plant.
Kamau has adopted a youth group (Go Green Club; a Mathare informal settlement group living in Ngong Town) for support and encouragement.
The group has been picked for its initiative of conducting regular clean-ups at the forest’s picnic sites.
The CS also gave a 30-day notice to all community members who have in the past grazed animals in the forests to stop. He asked the groups to seek user rights through KFS.
Tobiko said, “No livestock will be allowed into the forest at any given time, so as to ensure the protection of the critical water catchment area.”
Tobiko warned that littering forests with plastic products is an offence punishable by law.
“Alcoholic drinks, plastics and any litter is outlawed in all forest resources and KFS is under instructions to implement the directive,” he said.
Kamau appreciated the goodwill exhibited by all stakeholders who support KFS’ role to ensure forests resources are optimally managed for the benefit of all.
After the meeting, the community members took the CS and his delegation on a nature trail.
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