Minister of Natural Resources and Climate Change Eisenhower Mkaka has urged people in the country to protect the environment to minimise the impact of natural disasters induced by climate change.
He said this on Friday in Chikwawa during joint commemorations of the 2022 World Environmental Day, International Day for Biological Diversity, International year of Mountains and the 75th Anniversary of the Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi (Wesm).
Mkaka called on the need for stakeholders, including traditional leaders and communities, to work together in conserving and restoring the environment.
He said: “Protection of the environment is critical if we are to achieve sustainable development. We are witnesses of how climate change has affected us. So, it is important that in what we do, we should focus on restoring the environment.
“I must admit that we are not doing enough in preserving the environment as there are a number of challenges we are facing, including limited resources, lack of awareness and lack of seriousness in law enforcement.”
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi attributed environmental degradation to overpopulation, calling on families to be responsible and plan for children they can take care of without straining natural resources.
He cited encroachment of wildlife reserves as one of the challenges facing his ministry.
Said Usi: “Communities are encroaching protected areas to kill animals; therefore, some big animals such as elephants have escaped to nearby villages where they are killing people.
“We need to put an extra gear in awareness campaign so that everybody takes the responsibility to take care of the environment.”
Re p r e s en t i n g t h e United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organisation country representative Zhijun Chen bemoaned continued pressure on the environment resulting in climatic shocks and increased environmental degradation.
He said: “The rate o f s p e c i e s ’ l o s s i s unprecedented; damage to the complex web of life that sustains us has already impacted the lives and livelihoods of Malawians, contributing to hunger and unemployment.” The day was commemorated under the theme ‘Only One Earth, Let’s Build a Shared Future’.