Tree Ambassador Bemoans Firewood Poaching

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

ZIMBABWE national tree planting Ambassador, Never Bonde, has expressed concern over the wanton cutting down of trees for firewood in the country.

Firewood vendors and dealers have recorded brisk business since the start of the current chilly weather, especially with intermitted electricity load sheddings.

The boom has seen poachers resorting to transporting the firewood during during night to evade Environment Management Authority (EMA) and police check points. Often they bribe their way through.

Bonde cited Umguza and Lupane as one of the most affected districts in the country.

“I am concerned about the rampant firewood poaching which is happening in some areas in Matebeleland province. In the past months, we have observed numerous truckloads of firewood being smuggled in the high density suburbs for sell.  According to our survey, one household in every 10 houses now sell firewood.  We are very much concerned about the source of this firewood,” said Bonde.

The National Tree Ambassador called upon parliament to craft more firewood poaching deterrent laws.

“We are imploring our parliament to come up with more deterrent ant-firewood poaching laws.  The current fine of $5 for the offence is ridiculous. We need more deterrent fines which makes it impossible for people to poach firewood,” he said.

Bonde said as part of his efforts in fighting deforestation, he has offered Bulawayo city council 8000 seedlings for planting in the city’s parks and other areas.

“As part of our contribution to the greening of Bulawayo, we have offered Bulawayo City council 8000 tree seedlings at our Chipinge indigenous tree nursery.  We are however still waiting for the council to organize transport and collect the seedlings.  Most of the street trees in the city have outlived their lives and they need to be replaced especially in the wake of the outbreak of corona virus,” said Bonde.

The Tree Ambassador said that studies have shown that plenty oxygen mitigate against the corona virus.

Bonde also bemoaned the harvesting of timber in Luapne by the Chinese for commercial purposes.

“We have received reports that the Chinese are wantonly harvesting timber in Lupane and surrounding areas and shipping it to China. We are calling the government to immediately intervene and stop the practice which is threatening the environment in the area,” added Bonde.