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Zambia Faces Environmental Crisis: Minister Calls for United Efforts Against Climate Change

Minister of Green Economy and Environment Hon. Eng. Collins Nzovu, MP, declared that Zambia is currently facing an environmental crisis requiring collective action to combat the effects of climate change. 

Speaking at the World Environment Day Tree Planting Ceremony held at the Lusaka South Multi Facility Economic Zone (LS-MFEZ), Hon. Nzovu emphasized the urgent need for concerted efforts to address the challenges posed by climate change.

Speaking through the Ministry’s Director of Forestry, Mr. Sitwala Wamunyima, Hon. Nzovu emphasized the critical need for increased tree planting activities. 

He lauded the collaborative efforts of the LS-MFEZ team and Standard Chartered Bank Zambia for organizing a tree planting event aimed at addressing climate change and raising awareness about its impacts.

“The goal is not for us to just plant these trees but to provide the highest standard of care so that the trees stand the best chance of surviving during their infancy until they reach maturity and start bearing fruits for you,” stated Hon. Nzovu. “It is only when you ensure the survival of the trees shall the benefits accrue to you and our country in mitigating the effects of climate change and counter activities that lead to deforestation.”

To combat deforestation, the Ministry has banned the issuance of cord wood permits for charcoal production in Shibuyunji, Mumbwa, and Itezhi-Tezhi Districts, areas severely affected by deforestation and experiencing low rainfall and poor agricultural productivity. 

Hon. Nzovu highlighted the essential role trees play in absorbing carbon dioxide, protecting water recharge areas, and stabilizing soils to prevent siltation of water bodies.

Standard Chartered Bank Zambia’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Sonny Zulu, echoed Hon. Nzovu’s concerns, noting that re-planting rates remain below sustainable levels. 

He warned that by 2027, there might not be enough plantation timber to meet the growing demand for construction.

“We must remain resolute and continue to plant more trees in Zambia. Today, I am proud that Standard Chartered is planting an initial 400 indigenous trees at LS-MFEZ. These trees will not only beautify the landscape but also contribute to the delicate ecological balance by supporting local biodiversity,” Mr. Zulu stated.

He further elaborated on the bank’s environmental initiatives, including the annual P.L.A.N.T. campaign (People Loving And Nurturing Trees), which challenges employees to plant at least one tree each year. 

This year’s campaign was launched at the LS-MFEZ, coinciding with Standard Chartered Bank’s 118th anniversary of operations in Zambia, having opened its first branch in Kalomo District, Southern Province, in 1906.

Hon. Nzovu concluded by acknowledging the support from the government under President Hakainde Hichilema, the Ministry of Health, and various cooperating partners. 

He reiterated the need for collective efforts to ensure a healthier and more productive Zambia.

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