By Fostina Mkandawire
Lilongwe, October 19, Mana: President Dr Lazarus Chakwera has underpinned the need to implement environmental resilient interventions in order to tackle environmental shocks.
Chakwera made the remarks on Monday at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe during a Weekly Brief which focused on the environment.
The President who was in the company of Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources, Nancy Tembo and Minister of Information, Gospel Kazako underscored the importance of investing in formulating measures focusing on protecting the environment rather than on disaster relief after the damage has been done.
He said it is time to start implementing the National Resilient Strategy to ensure a systematic approach to environmental restoration.
“It is high time the country took drastic steps to reverse the adverse effects of the environment by fixing soil degradation, replenishing forests with trees and restoring life under water.
“My administration will be investing in strategies that will help in mitigating the risks of natural disasters rather than spending money on relief activities after a disaster has occurred,” he said.
The country is losing about 32, 000 hectares of forest cover every year a development the President described as sad.
The President made a commitment last month when he appeared in Parliament to answer questions from legislators that he would set aside a day to tackle key issues affecting the environment in the country.
He said issues such as the thin plastics ban will be implemented, by ensuring that all key players involved should adhere to the set rules and regulations.
As such, the President revealed that government will establish a taskforce that will have technocrats on environmental issues as well as enforcing rules and regulations set by the government.
The taskforce will take a multisectoral approach incorporating every player in the environment sector.
“Taking care of the environment is a civic duty. Everyone has to take part in protecting the environment. I, therefore, encourage chiefs to take a leading role in educating their subjects on the hazards of environmental degradation,” he said.
One issue that took centre stage at the briefing was the issue of cutting down of trees for charcoal production.
Chakwera said his administration will not handle the issue of deforestation with a rubber glove warning that everyone involved in the malpractice will face the arm of the law.
He, therefore, said alternative ways of cooking should be employed like the use of briquettes, gas stoves and paraffin stoves.
“My government will ensure that all other alternatives sources of energy are prioritized by ensuring that taxes on the imported commodities for cooking are reduced,” he said.
Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources, Nancy Tembo said her Ministry has set aside different interventions that will focus on reversing environmental shocks that the country is facing.
She cited planting of 4.5 million hectares of natural regenerating trees as one of the interventions.
The briefing was graced by Presidential environmental advisors, environmental experts and officials from the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources.