Counties

City Hall warns firms against felling trees for ads

Environmental activist Kamau Thuo at City Park Forest Research where trees were being cut by advertising firms to erect billboards on March 18, 2017. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NMG
Environmental activist Kamau Thuo at City Park Forest Research where trees were being cut by advertising firms to erect billboards on March 18, 2017. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NMG 

Nairobi County has sounded a warning to advertising companies who cut down trees to erect billboards.

It comes almost a year after former Governor Dr Evans Kidero issued a similar caution following rampant felling of trees in the city.

County Executive for Agriculture, Livestock Development and Forestry, Danvas Makori, has said City Hall will bring down outdoor signage and arrest owners of companies found to be engaging in the act.

“We are going to arrest anybody found cutting down trees for billboards and bring down those billboards. We are not going to permit if it means a tree or even a branch has to be cut off,” Mr Makori said Wednesday.

A number of advertising firms in Nairobi have been accused of felling trees with concerns raised by Nairobi residents and environmentalists over the vice.

Some of the areas affected include along Magadi Road, Limuru Road, Parklands and City Park.

City Park forest was worst affected after several indigenous trees were cut down at night last year to create space for billboards with local advertising firm Magnate Ventures accused of carrying out the act.

Environmental activist Kamau Thuo claimed that the felling of the trees was deliberately done at night so that billboards are erected in total disregard of the effects of their actions to the environment.

It is this incident that forced Dr Kidero to order the removal of all billboards interfering with trees in the city.

Probe

Mr Makori added that the county is currently looking into establishing the exact number of outdoor signage put up illegally.

“We are currently carrying out an audit to establish the number of billboards which have not been permitted hence not paid for,” he said, adding that owners of the firms collude with cartels at City Hall to evade paying taxes leading to loss of revenue.

Currently, the city is estimated to have over 20,000 signage and over 1,000 large format advertisements.

Impound cows

Mr Makori also warned against cows roaming the city illegally saying they will be impounded, auctioned and herders arrested if they do not comply with county by-laws.

“Nairobians are upset by these cows roaming on roads and estates. We have laws that protect people’s safety and the Nairobi County Governor Mike Sonko will not allow cows invade on people’s property,” he said.

He added that the county enforcement team was already on the ground impounding cows from Embakasi area before taking them to a holding ground in Dagoretti Corner for auctioning if the owners fail to show up.

Last year, City Hall askaris arrested ten Maasai herders and over 500 livestock held by the county for grazing their cattle along Lang'ata Road, Mombasa Road, Westlands roundabout and Wayiaki Way without a permit, something the county by-laws prohibit.