World Environmental Day 2019: Dol Dol Residents urged to take full ownership on Environmental Protection

“We are our own worst enemies; this must stop!”, the Assistant County Commissioner for Laikipia North, Mr. Eliud Waweru, lamented.

“For years we have continuously pressed the self-destruct button on matters regarding our environment to a point that we can no longer control the negative impacts”. Mr. Waweru went on, “If we do not take advantage of the 13 group ranches and use that platform to plant indigenous trees, stop the unregulated sand harvesting activities, and find a solution to the menace that is Opuntia, then we are left with nothing but bitter days ahead. Let us accept the reality that as a community we have played a major role in destroying our environment. We must all regroup, re – strategize and collectively work as one to turn the tables and restore our land as it was in the days of our forefathers.”

These were his remarks at the World Environmental Day held at the Dol Dol Stadium on the 5th of June 2019. Where over 300 residents, and about 50 visitors and officials attended.
Dol Dol town, the sub-county headquarters of Laikipia North, is currently faced with extensive environmental challenges ranging from deforestation, to soil erosion, waste disposal, to the high influx of the invasive species, the Opuntia Stricta. The cactus is proving to be a menace in the region.

Hosting the 2019 World Environmental Day commemorations in Dol Dol was an indicator of the commitment from both the County Government and stakeholders on their efforts to work together with the community to solve these challenges.

Ms. Leah Sakui, the Assistant Chief of Dol Dol, confirmed that over the years, the area has experienced stiff environmental challenges and that the administration’s efforts to help curb the situation have been futile due to the low response from the community. She was specific about issues of deforestation and soil erosion, which are aggravated by excessive sand harvesting taking place in the region. She emphasized the need for the community to take the initiative and work together to save their own environment.

Her sentiments were largely echoed by stakeholders from National Government, County Government of Laikipia, NEMA, Laikipia Forum, World Vision, IMPACT, and HM Clause. They all highlighted the need to work together in fighting against environmental degradation.
Mr. John Letai, the Deputy Director for Water, Environment and Natural Resources in Laikipia County, acknowledged Laikipia Forum in particular for working closely with the County Government to curb the spread of the invasive species, Opuntia stricta, adding that as a County, they have set aside 2 million Ksh for green houses to breed the cochineal insects as a biological control measure for the cactus.

He added that the Forum had also supported pre-event activities that involved school debates on the invasive species between Dol Dol Boys and St. Francis Girls, as well as between Lentile Primary School and Dol Dol Primary School.
Community members and all stakeholders took part in a clean-up in Dol Dol Town, and a tree planting ceremony at St. Francis Girls, in an effort to drive the environmental management message home. This event was organized by the County Government and NEMA in partnership with World Vision, the Laikipia Forum and IMPACT.

The Laikipia Forum’s participation in this activity was assisted by the USAID/SERVIR Project that supports Laikipia County Government to control and manage the invasive cactus species, Opuntia Stricta.

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