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Kenya will celebrate a nationwide tree planting day Monday, a new public holiday that will see citizens plant trees across the country in an effort to tackle climate change, the Associated Press reported.
Last week, Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki announced that Nov. 13 would be a surprise national holiday and called on Kenyans to make a “patriotic contribution to the national efforts to save our country from the devastating effects of climate change.”
Environment Minister Soipan Tuya added that seedlings would be provided to the public. The decision is part as part of the government’s plan to plant 15 billion trees across Kenya by 2032.
The government has allocated a budget of $80 million to increase Kenya’s tree cover to 10 percent from the current seven percent. This would enable the country to limit its carbon dioxide emissions – trees absorb carbon, while deforestation accelerates climate change – and help meet its obligations regarding climate action, the AP explained.
The impact of climate change in the region and the Horn of Africa has resulted in deep and devasting droughts, which prompted President William Ruto, who took office in 2022, to declare a national day of prayer in February. The rainy season has seen little to no rain for five seasons in a row.
King Charles III applauded the project while he was visiting Kenya two weeks ago, and took part in the tree-planting effort in the capital Nairobi.