Cairo – A beloved fig tree in the Kenyan capital Nairobi lives to see another day – and, another century.
On Wednesday, the head of the Nairobi metropolitan area said The 100-year-old fig tree was planned to be removed Paving the way for a new expressway will not only save but also protect the national symbol of environmental protection.
The announcement was a success for both environmental activists and cultural leaders in Kenya, who have condemned attempts to cut down or relocate the fig tree, which many communities consider sacred. Some experts suspected that the four-story tall ancient tree may have survived being uprooted and moved.
Maj. Gen. Mohammed Badi, director general of Nairobi Metropolitan Services, said, “What development is going to happen here will not touch this tree. When visiting the fig tree In the bustling business district of the Westlands.
Mr. Body said he had instructed city officials Fence from wood Beautify the area so that the residents of the city can enjoy the space. He signed the declaration accepting the tree as “a beacon of Kenya’s cultural and environmental heritage and a symbol of Nairobi’s commitment to environmental protection.”
Officials announced in October that they planned to uproot the tree to pave the way for the construction of the Nairobi Expressway. The 17-mile highway, which will be completed in 2022, is expected to create thousands of jobs, with the aim of reducing traffic in central Nairobi.
But from the beginning, the project drew criticism from environmental groups, who said it did not take into account the effects of air quality and green space. Although Nairobi is popularly known as the “Green City in the Sun”, parks, forests and gardens Is declining In the city in recent years due to the growth of business and infrastructure.
Activists lamented that dozens of trees had been cut down along the highway and filed a lawsuit against the environmental regulator for approving the project. Kenyan law generally requires a court ruling to suspend the project, but construction continues.
The decision to save the fig tree was welcomed by environmental activists on Wednesday, but called for additional action to save green spaces across the capital.
“The move by the National Metropolitan Services is very welcome and is a good starting point around ethical development and investment in Kenya,” said George Mwangkala, East Africa’s leading construction company for the Purpose Climate Lab, a social impact organization that opposes Expressway.
But, “we need to ensure that nature and the environments in which we live complement the development of infrastructure at all levels.”
Vanjira Mathai, her mother is an environmental activist and Wangari Matai, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Welcomed the decision to save the tree.
“Now that we know about the role of green spaces and trees in keeping cities alive, we must work to ensure that Nairobi’s growth is green and inclusive,” Ms Mathai, chairwoman of the Wangari Matai Foundation, said in an interview.