Deforestation blamed on rapid population growth
Forestry officials in Mwanza have attributed the heavy degradation of vegetation to population growth the district has registered over the past decade.
According to Mwanza District Forestry Officer Brian Mtambo, the current population growth rate for the district, which stands at 4.1% against a national wide rate of 2.7%, contributes to a corresponding damage of 4.1% to vegetation.
Mtambo was speaking on Tuesday when Christian Aid awarded best performers under the low carbon technology component of the Enhancing Community Resilience Programme (ECRP) at Thambala Village in Traditional Authority Kanduku in the district.
“Deforestation tallies to population density and Mwanza has the highest population growth currently at 4.1%. This means deforestation in Mwanza is also at 4.1 which is alarming,” lamented Mtambo.
He described this as a challenge to afforestation efforts the Department of Forestry and other stakeholders are undertaking in the district.
Mtambo called upon people in the district to be patriotic and never hide under the guise of poverty in their insatiable appetite to destroy the environment.
People hide under poverty as a justification for them to behave irresponsibly and destroy forests. But people who destroy the environment are well-to-do. They own trucks; some have influential positions. This poverty justification does not hold water.”
Christian Aid Head of Programmes, Sophie Makoloma, observed that the importance of trees cannot be overemphasized.
She then called upon the public to adopt the use of low-carbon energy technologies such as fuel efficient stoves as well as sustainable and commercially viable renewable energy technologies like micro-solar lighting and phone charging equipment.
Christian Aid handed bicycles and solar torches to award six best performers under the low-carbon technology component of the ECRP.
Christian Aid leads a consortium of 15 implementing nongovernmental organisation partners working with communities in seven districts of Kasungu, Nsanje, Mulanje, Thyolo, Machinga, Chikhwawa, and Mwanza.
The ECRP focuses on providing support to 1.4 million people in climate-vulnerable communities to manage, cope with and recover from the impact of both current and future changes in weather patterns.
It also focuses on strengthening information sharing and influencing disaster risk management and climate change policies to ensure resilience is built both at a community level, and supported by relevant policies at national level.
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