The Chinese firm building the Nairobi Expressway cut down at least 2500 trees to build the double-decker road.
The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) says it has now given the contractor, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), until the end of March to plant 3,000 assorted seedlings along the 27-kilometre multi-billion expressway.
Nema Director-General Mamo Boru Mamo says he gave CRBC three months from last month to ensure trees it fell during the project are replaced.
He said from their environmental impact assessment (EIA), the project led to the cutting down of at least 2,500 trees hence the order to replant 3,000 seedlings.
“Under the provisions of EIA, we have directed the Chinese company to undertake greening up of Nairobi Expressway. We estimated that they had removed 2,500 trees during the construction and we want them to plant at least 3,000 assorted tree seedlings to replace the tree cover lost during the construction process,” said Mr Mamo.
The Nema DG added that the greening will go hand in hand with the beautification programme already underway.
At least 13 different species of trees were lost to make way for a four-lane dual carriageway that starts from Mlolongo to the James Gichuru junction.
“We have directed them to undertake the greening in addition to the beautification programme using tree seedlings, especially on the way leaves,” he said.
The construction of the expressway led to a loss of biodiversity in the capital city with different environmental organisations putting different figures for the loss with some quoting as much as more than 4,000 young and mature trees as having been cut down.
According to communication given by the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), the Chinese contractor was in turn supposed to plant trees elsewhere, five trees for every one that is cut down.
“We expect that the trees will mitigate noise pollution and also provide required environmental service and also improve the aesthetic value of the environment and reduce the concrete jungle,” said the DG.
Mr Mamo pointed out that the seedlings must be in line with the Kenya Forest Services guidelines in order to avoid introducing invasive species along the expressway.