By Abdi Hussein
Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko has raised a red flag on illegal charcoal burning in Kajiado County and ordered mapping of all charcoal burning hot spots within the next 100 days.
Addressing Kajiado security team in Kajiado town Tobiko said despite his ministry ban on illegal lagging and charcoal burning countrywide, the vice is rampant in his home land Kajiado County.
Tobiko has ordered all security teams to unite in the fight against illegal logging and illegal charcoal trade in the semi-arid region.
“Illegal logging and charcoal burning continue to thrive in most parts of Kajiado county in an alarming rate. I have ordered mapping of all charcoal burning “hot spots” and stringent measures taken forthwith. We must protect our environment to avert desertification in Kajiado County,” noted Tobiko.
Kajiado Central sub-county and part of Kajiado West Sub County are most affected. Cutting of indigenous trees is rampant both in private land and in public forests.
A spot check indicates charcoal business is thriving though in secret. Some unscrupulous police officers and administration officers are said to abet the illegal trade.
A bag of charcoal is retailing at Sh900 in Ilbissil, Maili Tisa towns.
Charcoal transportation is normally done at night. In the past, lorries transporting charcoal have been impounded allegedly being escorted by police officers.
Kajiado County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha warned security officers against abetting charcoal burning in the region.
Nkanatha said the security team will carry a 30 day intensive operation in the entire county to stop charcoal burning.
” All chiefs and their assistants must ensure no charcoal burning in their areas of jurisdiction. We want support from members of public and local leader,” said Nkanatha.
Despite the government charcoal ban, charcoal business is thriving in most Kajiado satellite towns. In kitengela, the business has normalized with a bag of charcoal retailing at Sh1,500 compared to Sh3,000 when the ban was imposed almost two years ago.
Some police officers and some local politicians are said to be involved in the illegal business using their positions to maneuver, thus minting millions of money monthly.