Environmental activists have described Kenya’s decision to lift a six-year ban on logging as a bad move by the government.
The ban has been in place since 2018 and was meant to protect the country’s forest reserve.
Kenya’s President William Ruto announced the lifting of the ban on Sunday in a speech at a church event in Molo, a town around 200km north-west of Nairobi.
According to the President, the decision to lift the ban was “long overdue”. He argued that allowing for logging to resume would create jobs.
“We can’t have mature trees rotting in forests while locals suffer due to lack of timber. That’s foolishness,” he said.
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“This is why we have decided to open up the forest and harvest timber so that we can create jobs for our youth and open up business.”
The ban reportedly affected many people who depended on logging as the source of their livelihoods.
Environmental activists kick against lifting ban
Greenpeace Africa, one of the organizations kicking against the lifting of the ban said the decision “could have devastating consequences for the environment”.
“In Kenya, forests are home to rare and endangered species, and millions of local people depend on these forests for their livelihoods, relying on them for food and medicine,” the organisation said in a recent petition which was kicking against the move.
“Since the Kenyan government imposed the ban on logging six years ago, significant progress has been made in forest protection and with combatting the climate crisis,” it said.
“Lifting the ban will undo all our hard work, as it will open the floodgates to commercial and illegal logging solely driven by profit.”
Do you know that Kenya might lose its forests in less than 10 days? 😱
The Kenyan government has made a decision to lift a 6-year ban on logging!
This decision could have devastating consequences for the environment in this critical time of the climate crisis. pic.twitter.com/NhUDLFf4d8
— Greenpeace Africa (@Greenpeaceafric) June 26, 2023
But the Kenyan president, said his government will still maintain its goal of planting 15 billion trees over the next ten years.
Kenya has already imposed taxes on the importation of timber and furniture which the president said was “because we want all that to be made by the Kenyan people”.