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Kenyans across the country have been implored to embrace eco-friendly funeral options such as cremation to avoid cutting down of trees and thereby help in conservation of environment.
Francis Mburu Machua, a lawyer and a Rotarian said that cremation as a means of disposing of dead bodies is the surest way of avoiding sustained deforestation that results in climate change, desertification, flooding, fewer crops and soil erosion.
The mode of interring dead bodies is considered taboo by many African traditional beliefs.
However, many prominent persons in the country have over the years been cremated.
They include; Nobel laureate Prof Wangari Maathai in 2011, former cabinet ministers Kipng’eno arap Ng’eny and Peter Okondo, Archbishop Manasses Kuria and his wife, as well as sports administrator Joshua Okuthe.
Machua regretted that at least 50 funerals are held at Lang’ata cemeteries in Nairobi on a daily basis causing unrelenting ‘destruction of trees’ that are used in the making of caskets.
More of such happen at over 50 cemeteries across the country.
Speaking at Kiriko primary school in Gatundu North where Ruiru rotary club, Kiambu County government officers and the community joined hands in planting indigenous and fruit trees, Machua maintained that deceased persons should not be used to destroy the environment.
He said that while cremation has for a long time failed acceptance, the alternative body disposal process of ‘burying in caskets’ are leaving behind more than just grieving relatives and rooted for sensitization of Kenyans.
Machua insisted that Kenyans should view the protection of the environment as a top priority for many generations to come.
“We are encouraging our people to embrace cremation that does not require hardwood. Destruction of the environment through cutting down trees to make caskets has far-reaching effects on our planet and we should now embark on changing the mess,” he said.
While the country aims at increasing the forest cover from the current 7.2 per cent to 10 per cent by 2022, more than 2 billion seedlings will require to be planted by 2022.
He said that rotary clubs in the country have engaged Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) among other entities to facilitate plantation of trees along major roads such as the busy Thika superhighway.
“More than 200,000 vehicles ply along Thika superhighway emitting a lot of toxic gases. We urgently need to plant trees along major highways and we have started talks with Kenha and other institutions. Trees along the highway will absorb the emitted harmful gases such as carbon dioxide,” he said.
Other stakeholders in the tree plantation exercise led by King’ori Kanjeru, the Gatundu North Sub County administrator and Gituamba ward MCA Mwangi Nduati emphasized the need for trees for a healthy society.
Kanjeru stated that the sub county has embarked on an ambitious 2 million trees plantation plan.
“We will plant 500,000 trees in every ward half of which will be indigenous while the rest will be fruits. We have been given the opportunity to modify the mess that is there,” he said.