COUNTRIES world over are grappling with the effects of climate change such as high temperatures and pollution, all linked to deforestation.
Zambia has not been spared in the environmental challenges of deforestation, which is the clearing of land purposefully, particularly for charcoal burning purposes.
And sadly, reports that the rate of deforestation in the country is at 172,000 hectares per year is alarming.
Deforestation causes harm in a variety of ways because forests are unable to filter properly or regulate the water supply, thereby causing floods and in some cases erosion.
Other effects of deforestation leading to climate change include, increase in green house gases in the atmosphere, decrease in ground water levels, as well as loss of food and animals.
Apart from loss of trees and other vegetation, the effects of deforestation are also felt by members of the public through the low production of crops.
We are aware that the effects of deforestation affect the ecosystems and even increase the risk of spreading diseases, particularly when it’s done on large scale destruction of trees.
It is for this reason that we support Energy Minister Peter Kapala who has ordered a stop to deforestation, through the use of green energy.
Launching the 2023 Energy, Oil and Gas exhibition week, Mr Kapala, through his permanent secretary Peter Mumba, rightly observes that the use of charcoal and firewood is predominant in many homes when it is not sustainable.
Under the theme ‘Stimulating economic growth through a viable and resilient energy sector’ the, unfounded belief among Zambians that the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is dangerous, when not should be discouraged among citizens.
If the fight against deforestation is to be won, vigorous sensitisation is required to change the mindset of many Zambians who have believed in the use of charcoal for many years.
With the growing population at 2.2 per cent and a possibility of reaching 25.3 million by 2030, the country is likely to be turned into a dessert if deforestation continues.
It is therefore commendable that the ministry of Energy with other sector players are planning to put up awareness programmes for members of the public to understand the need to switch to green and renewable energy sources.
Programmes like planting of more trees, going paperless, educating others on the dangers of deforestation and promoting the use of recycled products should be supported.
This will help in tackling the effects of deforestation and save Zambia from becoming a dessert