The CCAP Synod of Livingstonia has asked government to end charcoal business which is wiping out forests.
Speaking when the Synod and Malawi National Examination Board (Maneb) planted trees in Lusangazi Forest on Thursday, the general secretary, the Reverend Levi Nyondo, said government is doing so little to curb charcoal production.
Up to 97 percent of the population cooks using firewood and charcoal.
He said forests are going up in smoke as national commitments to end charcoal business have been reduced to mere rhetoric.
Nyondo said: “Government has to go on the ground and start confiscating charcoal from people selling the illegal product along the roads and other areas.
“We are the same people promoting production of charcoal because we buy the outlawed product. We shouldn’t just be talking about addressing deforestation when we are doing nothing.”
He asked faith and community leaders to join the crackdown on the illicit trade.
But environmentalists say police action is nothing without providing alternative source of income and energy for cooking.
Government expects 62 million trees to be planted by April.
The national charcoal strategy promotes the use of liquefied petroleum gas, energy-saving cookstoves and charcoal churned out by licensed producers, said Mzimba district forestry officer Lifred Banda.
He said the Department of Forestry will not stop confiscating charcoal.
Maneb executive director Gerald Chiunda said the board has to replenish forests because it uses paper derived from trees.