published : 2023-11-07

Kenya Declares Surprise Public Holiday to Plant 15 Billion Trees

New Kenyan national holiday on Nov. 13 in conjunction with bold plan to plant 15 billion new trees by 2032

A photo of President William Ruto planting a tree in Nairobi, Kenya. Caption: President William Ruto leads by example in the national tree planting campaign. (Taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

The Kenyan government has announced a surprise public holiday on Nov. 13, 2023, for a nationwide tree planting day.

This initiative is part of a monumental plan to plant 15 billion new trees by 2032.

Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki made the announcement following a cabinet meeting chaired by President William Ruto.

The country aims to increase its current forest cover of about 7% to more than 10%.

To support this ambitious project, the government has allocated over $80 million this financial year.

A group of volunteers planting trees in the Karura forest, Kenya. Caption: Volunteers come together to contribute to the ambitious goal of planting 15 billion trees by 2032. (Taken with Nikon D850)

The significance of tree planting lies in their ability to store carbon, one of the main drivers of global warming.

Deforestation, on the other hand, accelerates climate change by halting plant photosynthesis and releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide through burning.

Kenya, like the Horn of Africa region, has been experiencing worsening droughts caused by climate change, with rain failure for five consecutive seasons.

The Kenyan environment ministry has committed to providing tree seedlings for the tree planting day, emphasizing the government's dedication to climate action.

Environment Minister Soipan Tuya described it as a moment for unity and a collective effort to combat the climate crisis.

An aerial view of Kenya's lush forests, showcasing the importance of increasing the country's forest cover. Caption: Kenya's breathtaking landscapes serve as a reminder of the beauty and significance of our natural environment. (Taken with Sony Alpha a7R III)

President Ruto has prioritized the National Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration Program since assuming office in September 2022, earning praises from visiting dignitaries such as King Charles III of the United Kingdom.

King Charles III, on his first visit to an African nation since his ascension to the throne, commended Kenya's ambitious goal of planting 15 billion trees.

During his visit, he planted a tree at the State House in Nairobi and at the Karura forest, associated with the late environmentalist Wangari Maathai.