We can all calm down now; a tree that was dedicated in memory of late Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai was cut down for safety reasons.
Last week, there was an uproar from Kenyans after a picture of the stump of the tree was circulated on social media. Kenyans and conservationists demanded to know why the tree was brought down.
To that effect, Environmentalist Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti has come out to explain that the tree was cut down last month after it split into two, posing a risk to passersby who use a nearby footpath.
“Nature had taken its course,” she explained.
“The tree behind the pool right at the Prof Wangari Mathai memorial was splitting into two. It’was a huge risk as kids use that route to the pool and cricket field.”
A gardener, identified as Steve, told Wathuti that he took pictures of the tree located near City Park and reported to his seniors on January 25, 2019.
“When we were still here deliberating on what to do next, one half of that tree came all the way down and actually damaged the water treatment plant and the remaining half was also posing a risk to the children as it also appeared weak from the top branches and that’s why it also had to come down,” said Steve.
“Had it been a Wednesday, Thursday, or Tuesday, the story would be different,” he added.
After research, Wathuti and her colleague found out that the tree had been planted a long time ago but the institution saw it right to dedicate it in memory of the late Maathai in the year 2011.
An administrator at the Wangari Maathai memorial added that the reason the tree stump was still there is because they believe the tree will actually re-sprout.
“We wanted to remove the stump for replanting but we were advised by our gardeners that the tree will actually re-sprout and grow again since it’s an umbrella tree,” he said.
The institution has planted eight tree seedlings along the same line where the tree was cut as a replacement for the same.
Wathuti, an environmental sustainability analyst, said that as part of her job, she was going to take 20 tree seedlings to be planted alongside the stump.
“The institution said it was okay for me to bring the seedlings and that they will give me a place to plant them,” she said.
“Maathai’s legacy reigns on and it’s my hope that every individual will do the best they can to help conserve the environment for our sake and the sake of the future generations to come. We need nature.”