Communities turn to firewood as prices gas, of kerosene shoot up
Thursday, September 30th, 2021 00:00 | 2 mins read
Communities living in the Aberdare and Eburru areas of Naivasha sub-county have turned to forests as sources of firewood for cooking following the sharp rise in the prices of cooking gas and kerosene.
The move according to experts could hamper plans to increase the current forest cover to ten percent by 2030 and erode gains made in conservation efforts.
A couple of weeks back, the government increased the prices of fuel leading to a countrywide outcry with the cost of basic amenities also going up.
According to the chairman Lake Naivasha Water Resource Users Association (LANAWRUA) Enock Kiminta, plans to increase forest cover to ten percent by 2030 was now a mirage.
Kiminta noted that communities around forests had turned to them as their next source of cooking as many could not afford cooking gas or kerosene.
“We have seen a trend where cases of communities seeking fire wood around Eburru and Aberdare forests have risen and this is due to the recent increase in fuel prices,” he said.
Kiminta noted that the new development could see all the gains made in conserving the current forest cover eroded in the coming days.
He at the same time noted that water levels around rivers in Lake Naivasha basin had dropped sharply as the effects of the ongoing drought continued to be felt.
“We have seen several rivers in the catchment area dry up and this means a crisis for communities living downstream and this could lead to increased cases of disputes,” he said.
On his part, the chairman Lake Naivasha Basin Landscape Association (LANABLA) Paul Ruoya termed the increase in fuel prices as a blow to environmental conservation.
He noted that it would be near impossible to control communities around the forest from seeking for firewood as they were not connected to electricity.
“The rise in fuel prices is not only a major blow to the economy but also to conservation efforts as people have to eat and the cheapest and available source of cooking is firewood,” he said.
He at the same time noted that currently River Malewa was the only one flowing into the lake as Rivers Gilgil and Karati had dried up due to the harsh weather conditions.