At least 2 000 trees were planted on the banks of Lilongwe River last Saturday as part of replanting exercise of Dzalanyama Forest Reserve domiciled in Lilongwe, Mchinji and Dedza.
The exercise, which was organised by Lilongwe Water Board (LWB), drew a number of principal secretaries with Chief Secretary to Government George Mkondiwa as the guest of honour.
A recent report revealed that, at its rate of deforestation, the reserve could exhaust in 10 years.
The state of the reserve’s increased deforestation has been cause for concern among various stakeholders, especially LWB which uses the reserve as a catchment area for Lilongwe River, a water body from which the board gets its water to supply the city.
Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Minister Atupele Muluzi recently told The Nation that government is finalising an action plan that will inform a holistic approach of saving the reserve.
“We need to ensure that we take care of the interest of all the people—the producers, the sellers and the buyers. The action plan will embody such measures and they will be in short and long-term measures,” he said.
Meanwhile, government has now moved the management of the reserve from the Forestry Department to Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC).
Speaking on the sidelines of the exercise Mkondiwa said government understands the importance of Dzalanyama to the country that is why it is moving with speed to stop its current rate of deforestation.
“Government cannot save Dzalanyama on its own. That is why we need everybody in this process,” said Mkondiwa.
AEJ president Emmanuel Muwamba also took advantage of the exercise to call on journalists in the country to scale up their reportage of environmental issues.
Muwamba further called on government to increase the allocation Treasury provides to the reserve’s patrols.