By Duncan Mlanjira
Blantyre Water Board (BWB) is on a serious drive to reafforest it’s catchment area which needs to be replenished with over 200,000 trees and so far, with the help of companies, civil organisations, churches and other groups, they have planted about 50,000 seedlings during this rainy season.
BWB Board chairperson James Naphambo disclosed this on Saturday when he was part of tree planting exercise by St. Claire Catholic Community of Namiwawa residential area to which he belongs.
With assistance of school pupils from Kachere Primary in Ndirande, St. Claire Catholic Community planted over 1,000 tree seedlings and Naphambo urged other concerned citizen to join in the exercise in order to take advantage of the prevailing rains.
“We need more people to come and plant trees on this catchment area so that it should be full covered and live up to its name of a catchment area,” Naphambo said.
“Our target last year was 40,000 trees but we just managed about 25,000 and that’s why we intensified the campaign this time around.”
On what mechanism put in place to see that the newly-planted trees are well looked after, Naphambo said BWB has a special section that patrols the area to make sure that their survival rate is high.
“So far they have managed to reach a survival rate of 60 percent and they target to reach 80 and beyond so that in two years time this whole area should be covered with trees.
Edith Jiya, president of St. Claire Catholic Community, which belongs to St. Montfort Parish at Catholic Institute (CI), thanked National Bank of Malawi who sponsored them to buy the trees and also to the Kachere Primary School pupils for accepting to join them.
“The church always asks us to conserve our environment. Even the Bible says God created the world and gave man the dominion to take care of the environment.
“This is a very important catchment area for the Dam we see down there at Blantyre Water Board but it always suffers siltation because the catchment area was heavily deforested,” she said.
Amongst the members of St. Claire was former Blantyre City Mayor, Councilor Noel Chalamanda.
Soon after St. Claire, newly-formed Football Journalists Association (FJA) planted over 500 trees and as they left the place, over 3,000 trees were being offloaded which was to be planted by the Muslim community.