Shire River Environmental Support Trust (Shire Best), an organisation that finances the restoration of the entire Shire River Basin last week engaged different stakeholders in planting trees and bamboos at Lisungwi in Neno District.
The exercise was aimed at restoring the land that has been hit by environmental degradation.
Speaking during the event, Shire Best chief executive officer Doreen Chanje said the exercise will cover rivers and tributaries that drain water into the Shire River.
“Our main aim is to raise funds and identify partners that we can work within the catchment area.
“This area is one of the hotspots of soil erosion and we are here to demonstrate that in partnership with council, Electricity Generation Company Limited (Egenco) and the community, we can plant the trees and bamboos,” she said.
Chanje added that the food shortages that the country is experiencing every year are also contributed to environmental degradation.
“The rains that fell the last two weeks have washed away some crops around this area. This is how food insecurity starts to clip in into households,” she said.
Egenco chief maintenance engineer for Tedzani Hydro Power Station William Khonje said the generation of power depends on the volume of water in the Shire River.
“When there is a lot of siltation, volume of water becomes less and our generation is also affected. We cannot generate enough power for the development of the country. When we restore trees and nature, when water is falling, it sinks in the ground thus reduce the flow in the rivers and make them dry up,” he said.
Robert Kafakoma from Training Support for Partners which is implementing the project in the area said they are working to reduce siltation.
“This catchment is where there is a lot of deforestation and siltation affects power plants at Egenco. We have introduced multipurpose bamboos that can be used for charcoal production, construction, furniture, soil conservation and riverbank protection.
“Our major emphasis is not only planting but conservation which includes planting of vertical glass, construction of ridges, rehabilitation of gullies and promoting natural regeneration which is cheaper than planting,” he said.
Neno district commissioner Blessings Khonje said the district has been greatly hit by deforestation.
“This district used to be an area with a lot of trees, but charcoal production and brick burning have contributed to deforestation. We have put measures to curb this malpractice,” he said.