By Duncan Mlanjira
Over 1,000 trees were planted along the banks of Limbe River and at Kanjedza and Limbe primary schools in an exercise which Limbe Central Ward Councillor Gerald Lipikwe organised in conjunction with a youth-led non-governmental organization named Bright Minds of Tomorrow Organization (BMTO) on Wednesday.
And the ceremony was made colourful by the presence of close to 20 Limbe Police officers, who joined the exercise as part of the social responsibility.
Lipikwe said he was humbled that the Police officers joined him, saying he had made a courtesy call to inform Limbe Police of the tree planting exercise but the police officers decided to be part of the social responsibility event.
The police officers were also joined by Limbe forestry department and Blantyre City Council officials as well as South Lunzu Ward Councillor Jonas Kamwendo, who came as a gesture of solidarity.
Limbe Police public relations officer Patrick Mussa said they felt it duty bound to be part of the event to inspire others that the responsibility of reforestation rests in everyone.
“We are proud to be part of this exercise because the challenges being faced on climate change affects all of us,” Mussa said.
Also present were members of staff from beverage producers Rab Processors, who came over to also plant trees and present two of their products, ThumbsUp juice and Vital bottled water as refreshment for the exercise.
Rab Processors’ Marketing Manager Anthony Kafuwa said they decided to get involved in order to be part of the society that gives us business.
Rab Processors has engaged in a number of social responsibility activities and Kafuwa said they shall continue to be assist where necessary for the good development of the country.
Over 1,000 tree seedlings, some donated by management of Chigumula-based Jacaranda School for Orphans, were planted alongside Limbe River catchment area and at Kanjedza and Limbe primary schools.
Lipikwe applauded everyone who took part including some vendors, who also joined in the fun.
He observed the Limbe River is heavily polluted and he plans to continue sensitizing people on the dangers of pollution.
“I have a working committee which has been entrusted with the task of taking care of the trees we have planted and to see to it that this river is not being polluted.
“Planting lots of trees is nothing if you don’t take care of them. We will make sure that the trees that shall die are replaced immediately,” he
He also plans to continue engaging the four schools in his Ward, Kanjedza, Limbe and Chichiri primary schools as well as Chichiri Secondary School to be planting trees on their premises as well as at their homes.
BMTO has very passionate, well oriented and visionary young men and women, who aim at creating a self-sustaining generation of youth.
It focuses on education, HIV/Aids, art, theater, hygiene, sanitation, gender equality and the environmental and climate change activism.
“We sat down and saw the benefit of working together with the main purpose addressing issues affecting people in our area and one of the ideas was this tree planting exercise to cement our partnership.”
According to Executive Director Yamikani Chiphazi, BMTO was formed in July, 2018 by a number of young people and currently has over 70 members around Blantyre City.
He said they decided to joins hands with Lipikwe because the Councilor is passionate towards his Ward’s development and that he has supported them in a number of activities.
In the two years of it’s existence, Chiphazi said they have managed to implement some projects such as tree planting on Ndirande Mountain in 2019 and also conducted awareness campaigns in secondary schools to sensitize the youths from drug and substance abuse.
“During the 2019 Tripartite Elections, we also conducted a ‘Youth To Vote’ campaign after realizing that many youths were discouraged to cast their votes because they were not being recognised once leaders are voted into power.
“So our activity was aimed at encouraging them to vote and to disregard the discouragement they previously had with leaders once voted into power.”
In conjunction with Blantyre District Environmental Health Officer, they also conducted a Clean up Exercise and Awareness at Kachere township in December, 2019 after observing that the market was very filthy.