On 5th June Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating the world environment day whose theme is “Raise your Voice not Greenhouse Gases and Protect Environment”. A number of activities were planned and the main event was a tree planting exercise in various locations which saw the participation of various government ministries, including senior government officers such as the Secretary to Cabinet Dr. Roland Msiska at Levy Mwanawasa Hospital which marked the official event World Environment Day and launch of Zambia’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations. The United Nations in Zambia, Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) and the United Nations Youth Association of Zambia (YUNA-Zambia) joined the Ministry Transport Works and Supply and Communications, at the newly built National Heroes Stadium.
Blessings Sinkala who is the YUNA Child Ambassador in her remarks, she stated the presence of Ministry and all the stakeholders bears a testimony to the importance of good relations between the Zambian Government, the youths and the stakeholders such as the United Nations and Standard Chartered Bank to share the responsibility to unite and Combat Climate Change.
She further raised a concern on the increment of Electricity Tariffs by the national utility company ZESCO at 24% for households, stating that it would cause the increase of charcoal production that will lead to massive deforestation in the country, furthermore, she encouraged everyone to stay focused in line with our visions such as vision 2030 which aims Zambia to become a middle income country and by attaining the MDGs by 2015.
Mr. Excellent Hachileka who was representing the United Nations, highlighted issues on the climate change policy, he said Zambia is losing its forest due to human activities such as unsustainable agricultural practices and deforestation, he said currently the country is losing 250 000 to 300 000 hectares’ of forest per year which will result in others parts of Zambia turning into deserts.
Standard Chartered Bank Zambia Director Mrs. Musonda reiterated that as a private entity was committed to issues of the environment hence its participation and partnership in noble causes like that of planting trees with the United Nations and Government. She further said that they would continue to support national tree planting exercises when called upon.
The Hon. Minister Mr. Yamfwa Mukanga MP in his remarks gave a brief background on the world environment day from its beginning, he shared with the gathering that the tree planting was also the part of Golden Jubilee as Zambia celebrates its 50 years of independence. The Minister agreed that the Ministry under his charge Transport, Works and Supply Communications has contributed to deforestation in the country as the government is pushing infrastructure development through activities such as new roads and new buildings across the country, he said despite this the ministry is very committed to replanting trees that are cut down during the development activities.
The Minister urged every Zambian to involve themselves in tree planting exercises, and he thanked the United Nations, Standard Chartered Bank Zambia, YUNA-Zambia and schools that participated in the exercise, about 100 plus trees were planted.