Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Kenya relies 68 percent on wood for energy - Kalua

Kenya relies 68 percent on wood for energy - Kalua

By Sandra Chao

An environmental conservation organization reveals Kenya's heavy reliance on wood-fuel and warns that the country faces disastrous effects if conservation efforts are not taken a notch higher.

The chief executive officer of Green Africa, Dr Isaac Kalua warned that climate change effects would get worse if people continued engaging in harmful environmental practices.

"We rely 9 percent on electricity, 22 percent on petrol, 1 percent on renewable energy sources and 68 percent on wood fuel as sources of energy and it has been documented that charcoal is the second most popular form of energy," he said.

Kalua revealed that the continued reliance on wood fuel as a source of energy was posing a threat to the already diminished forest cover in the country.

"Efforts of conservation need to be taken up by all stakeholders and given a multidimensional view if we are to take Kenya back to what it was a decade ago," he said.

Kalua noted that documented figures of destruction of the environment needed to be broken down and interpreted easily for people to understand environment issues better.

"We cannot keep on talking about conservation until that old lady in the village is able to understand what 68 percent reliance on wood fuel means in regards to the harm done to the environment," Kalua said.

Kalua explained that the conservation efforts of tree planting were being watered down by the continuous cutting down of trees.

He decried that the 9,500 secondary schools in the country relied heavily on charcoal and firewood for their energy needs leading to massive loss of forest cover.

"Every school uses wood fuel equivalent to 53 trees on a daily basis, which translates to a loss of 183 million trees through secondary schools alone," he said.

He reiterated that with the country's forest cover standing at 1.7 percent against the global requirement of about 10 percent, there was need to plant more than 6.4 billion trees.

Kalua remained optimistic that ethical issues on the environment would be contained with the establishment of the court on environment similar to one in South Africa.

"The minister of justice and constitutional affairs has assured us that the court will be in place by end of August," said Kalua.


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