Kisumu County intends to hold the greenest sporting event in history in its quest to limit the devastating impact of climate change.
Subsequently, local leaders have sent out an appeal to the residents and would-be participants to sponsor a tree growing and a citywide clean-up exercise as part of the planned Kisumu City Run set to take place next weekend.
According to the event organizer, Thomas Ongwacho, Secretary General, Athletics Kenya – Nyanza North, they have lined up sideline activities that support the Kisumu City Greening Initiative, with a target to plant 500,000 tree seedlings on that day to help conserve the environment.
“We have undertaken the responsibility of advancing the citywide greening program through the medium of sports,” Ongwacho said during a media briefing breakfast held on Saturday.
On September 23, there will be public tree planting and cleaning activities in Kisumu town as participants wait for the main racing event on Sunday, September, 24.
With over 5,000 participants converging at the Lakeside City for the 21km, 10km, and 5km tricycle races as well as the 5km family fun run, the event seeks to spearhead long-term environmental sustainability through planting and nurturing trees.
Kisumu Central MP Dr. Joshua Oron speaking during the media briefing called on the residents, stakeholders and various sponsors to register and provide support for the occasion.
Dr. Oron emphasized that the community needs to take advantage of the sports assembly to plant more trees in public and private places to enhance forest cover in the region.
“The National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) has a small budget for environment. As a constituency, we will contribute towards the purchase and availability of tree seedlings to be given to a few residents to plant on that day. However, I urge residents who can afford to buy at least a tree for the activity,” Dr. Oron promised.
Kisumu City manager, Mr. Aballa Wanga while speaking at the same event, noted that the first edition of the city run offers a diverse road running series aimed at integrating families, businesses community and creating fun for all participants.
He added that the collective community tree planting would augment the County’s greening campaigns, where residents are tasked to participate in the monthly tree planting exercise in an effort to attain a smart, green and clean Kisumu city.
“We are keen towards becoming a smart city such that every event happening in Kisumu county must complement its main activity with tree planting,” the City Manager stated.
Wanga added, “Our target is to attain the 500,000 mark during this exercise. We encourage the public to buy at least a tree to promote the local tree vendors and enable us to achieve the target.”
To realize this, he added, the environment department would go door to door in the estates, to schools, colleges, hospitals, markets, and business ventures to seek support for the cause.
The event organizer stated that the exercise was open to all running enthusiasts, with some elite athletes having already confirmed participating in the competition.
Ongwacho added that registration is ongoing with all the senior races being charged Sh2,100, while the junior competition fee is Sh1,500.
Dr. Ida Odinga is expected to be the chief guest at the event.