Senior Chief Ndake of the Nsenga people in Nyimba has challenged government and the media to sensitize the people of Zambia on the effects of environmental degradation in the country.
Chief Ndake said there was a lot of ignorance amongst people on issues of environmental degradation due to lack of information on how best they could take care of the environment.
The chief said this during a meeting organised for Chiefs and Journalists by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Nyimba last week.
He said this in responding to awareness programs that are being carried out by CIFOR on forest conservation in the district.
He said the programe came with a set of guidelines on how to protect the forests and use of natural resources without causing damage to the climate.
Meanwhile Chief Ndake has appealed to government through the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection that it should come up with policies on how forests should be preserved in this country.
“We are glad that CIFOR chose Nyimba for its pilot project on forest conservation. The project was aimed at senstising the community on how to reduce environmental degradation by stop cutting trees unnecessarily. People have been taught on how unnecessary cutting of trees affect climate change and we hope findings of the research project are going to be handed over to government so that it can come up with policies that would protect the forests but will not infringe of the lives of the community.
“I would also like to appeal to the media to sensitize people on the key issues surrounding environmental degradation. It is a pity to learn that Zambia is one of the 20 countries in the world that had the highest carbon emissions and there is need for both the civil society organisations that deal with issues of natural resources, USAID and government to promote efforts such as CIFOR’s to reduce these emissions,” Chief Ndake said.
He said media had the duty to educate the masses on the effects of cutting trees by highlighting the effects that such activities had on the environment.
“This war is not only for traditional leaders, government and CIFOR but the media also should play a big role in telling us and the people that are ignoring these effects the impact degradation has on their lives due to climate changes.
“A lot of people are going into these business of cutting trees without considering the effects that degradation would cause to the communities in the areas where trees are being cut unnecessarily,” Chief Ndake.
And Dr Davison Gumbo a scientist with CIFOR said his organisation was working with the rural communities in Nyimba because it believed that the forest sector could mitigate climate change.
Dr Gumbo observed that the role of forests in climate change was underestimated and hence the initiative by CIFOR to help people understand the need to preserve forests.