Kenyans have been asked to stop planting blue gum trees along river banks and other water catchment areas.
National Environmental Management Authority board official Samuel Nyangeso said many rivers in the country are on the verge of extinction.
“We must act now to save future generations from water scarcity. This should be a do or die business for each of us,” Nyangeso said.
The official spoke at Nyamache Mange Seventh Day Church in Kitutu Chache South, Kisii, during a sabbath service on Saturday.
Nyangeso, a former Kisii mayor, said many rivers in Gusii have significantly reduced water levels.
“Worse still, more and more people, even the youth who understand the negative effects of these trees on the ecosystem are in the frontline planting them. I expect that they should be enlightening our people to stop this habit,” Nyangeso said.
In September 2019, Governor James Ongwae ordered residents to cut the trees. However, less than 200 homesteads complied before the effort lost steam.
A mature blue gum consumes at least 18 gallons of water a day, endangering water catchment areas.
Hundreds of springs have already dried up with water in key rivers like Kuja declining rapidly.
Nyangeso also asked Christians to be more prayerful as the country gears up for polls.
“Christians have this divine role of invoking the deity to help the country navigate through treacherous paths and election season is one of them. Let us constantly remember our leaders too as we pray,” he said.
The official urged the electorate to cast their votes wisely and elect leaders who are development conscious.
“Let us reduce incidents where people riot in the streets against non-performing leaders. Elect leaders with the potential to use resources wisely to benefit you,” he said.
Nyangeso urged electorates to look beyond the oratory and focus on what the person can do after the rallies.