I have been meaning to post my views regarding the Blue Gum tree or Eucalyptus. Last week I travelled through Central province on my way to Isiolo . Mount Kenya is a major water tower . Well it is now facing imminent danger.
Right from Thika I noticed miles and miles of Eucalyptus trees on virtually every available space. What many Kenyans don’t realise is that the Eucalyptus tree also known as Blue Gum is not an indigenous tree. It was introduced to Kenya around 1902 from Australia. It is a source of timber and fuel . It also fast growing. Many Kenyans have also been made to believe that they can sell the poles to Kenya Power who have now opted to use concrete poles which means many farmers will be left with poles that will end up as firewood or timber or left to continue to grow.
Now the sad part . Late Michuki warned us to uproot these trees from river banks while Nobel Laurette Wangari Mathai did not have kind words for it . She detested exotic trees for good reasons moreso the Blue Gum .
During my trip I only saw two rivers flowing while a decade ago there werr more than a dozen rivers. When I see news that Mwea Scheme is now drying up I am not surprised . Uncles Michuki and Nobel Laureate Wangari Mathai who are both deceased warned us ( May their souls Rest In Peace ) but we never listened.
Eucalyptus tree gulp between 60 and 200 litres a day per tree depending on age of the tree . Even wetland grabbers use them to drain the grabbed land . Note how Nairobi is also full of these trees.
This tree is also not kind to other plants . It releases a chemical that kills most other plants . Even birds dont find it attractive to build nests and the soil is left dry without any moisture. Even butterflies disappear. This aint rocket science , please visit any place with Eucalyptus trees. The soil is dry and cracking. No sign of moisture. It’s a environmental undertaker.
We plant the wrong tree and on the other hand we keep drilling more boreholes , folks the future ain’t looking good at all. If anything this tree should banned or strict controlled growing of same .
Kenya is officially a water stressed nation. If we fail to take action , one day you may have the money but there is no water to buy. Scary Isn’t it .
I have also said on numerous occasion that a messed up environment hits back with a vengeance. Nature does not file a case in court .
I am NOT a science student but where have all the environmentalist gone ?
Way Forward. Farmers ought to get rid of this tree and replace with Bamboo which is more soil friendly and quick growing.
Looming disaster indeed but as always I choose to remain am optimist .
Kenya Tourism Federation