Nairobi Run 4 Climate Promotes Tree Planting to Combat Air Pollution in Ruai

The Nairobi Run 4 Climate, organized by the Trees and Culture Organization in collaboration with the Nairobi Municipality Council, aims to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of air pollution in Ruai.

The event brings together various community-based organizations, and non-governmental organizations, and even includes a children’s tournament. The focus of Nairobi Run 4Climate is to advocate for stronger measures to address the noxious odors and health impacts caused by the Ruai sewage treatment plant.

The Ruai sewage treatment plant serves as an ecosystem that provides a habitat for over a hundred bird species, including Egyptian seagulls, long-tailed fiscal, wattled starlings, bronze sunbird, and long-billed pipit, among others. Additionally, the plant is home to aquatic animals such as crocodiles and hippopotamuses, brought in by the Kenya Wildlife Services, who oversee their care and contribute to the plant’s appeal as a tourist destination.

Recognizing the potential of this unique ecosystem, Mr. George Imara, one of the directors of Trees and Culture Organization, envisions a broader purpose for maintaining the land surrounding the sewage plant.

Apart from tree planting within the plant, the organization aims to transform it into a tourist attraction, highlighting the presence of wildlife. Their goal is not only to raise awareness during the run but also to create a forest within the plant to combat air pollution resulting from wastewater treatment.

Nairobi Run 4 Climate
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The focus on tree planting stems from the understanding that trees serve as the lungs of an ecosystem. They absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen as a byproduct, making them vital in filtering out air pollutants like nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides through their leaf stomata.

Trees also play a crucial role in reducing particulate matter in the environment through dispersion and absorption. Particulate matter, consisting of tiny solid and liquid particles containing organic chemicals, acids, metals, and dust, is known to be a causative agent of respiratory illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Furthermore, different tree species have varying capacities for carbon sequestration and air filtration. For example, conifers like pine and cypress are particularly effective in air filtration.

Nairobi Run 4 Climate heightens the urgency for action arising from the potential expansion of the Ruai Sewage Treatment Plant, which would result in increased gaseous pollutants and further harm the health of residents in the area.

Urgent measures are needed to mitigate the situation, creating cleaner breathing spaces through the filtration of air by trees, thereby reducing air pollution in both the ecosystem and residential areas.

According to Mr. Imara, one of the directors of the Tree and Culture Organization, the trees already planted have had a significant impact, contributing to the growth of residences in Ruai by curbing and reducing unpleasant odors. The local community stands to benefit from this practice, as it will lead to the development of a healthier and more vibrant ecosystem, resulting in improved health outcomes. Taking action is vital, considering that respiratory diseases have become a leading burden of disease in the country since 2022.

The Nairobi Run 4Climate serves as a precursor event to the Africa Climate Summit, scheduled for September 4th-6th. The organizers believe in a better future for the Ruai sewage treatment plant’s ecosystem.

Mr. Imara emphasizes the importance of youth inclusion in driving accountable change and supporting community adaptation to transform livelihoods and address the challenges faced in mitigating air pollution.

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