The Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) has challenged the government to find a lasting solution to the problem of environmental degradation, citing the mining sector as one of the areas highly affected by the problem.
Mejn Southern Region Coordinator Mike Banda said this Monday, when the network organised a solidarity walk in Mangochi District to sensitise community members to the dangers of environmental degradation.
“It is worrying, for example, that people who are mining precious minerals without official documents are clearing pieces of land and opening up deep and wide pits without regard to consequences which result from such practices.
“If left unchecked, this will result in Malawi losing a lot of land and trees which could have been saved if proper mining methods were employed legally. When promoting the mining sector, let us not forget about the challenges that are there. We have noted that the environment is one of the areas which are being affected as a result of the unregulated mining activities that are taking place in some parts of the country,” Banda said.
Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi Mangochi-Chapter Chairperson Sheikh Abdul Kapusa echoed Banda’s sentiments, citing lack of action plans as one of the factors fuelling the practice of mining without official documents.
“We are not just talking about environmental degradation; issues of child labour come into play, too. Children are being employed in the mines, although the government prohibits child labour, and this is leading to rising cases of school dropout,” he said.
A People’s Federation for National Peace and Development report released in December 2020 found that some children were dropping out of school to work in unlicenced mines in Ntcheu, Lilongwe, Mangochi, Dedza and Nsanje districts.
It recommended that illegal miners found employing children should be prosecuted to serve as a lesson to would-be offenders.