Traders from Chongwe transporting charcoal to the market in Lusaka on their bicycles

Chasefu District Commissioner Lufeyo Ngoma has warned charcoal burners in the area to desist from indiscriminate cutting down of trees.

The District Commissioner said those involved in the wanton cutting down of trees for charcoal production will face the law because their activity is destructive to the environment.

Mr Ngoma sounded the warning when he addressed residents at Mthwalo trading center in Chasefu district.

He said the rampant indiscriminate cutting down of trees affects the environment as it creates the negative effects that are leading to climate change.

Mr Ngoma said he was aware that people in the area are cutting down trees, producing charcoal and later transporting it into neighbouring Malawi for sale.

“I am warning you for the last time, stop cutting trees for charcoal production. When you get arrested it’s up to you, I don’t want my office to receive a complaint report pertaining to this,” the District Commissioner said.

Mr Ngoma also advised residents not to cut trees for opening up new crop fields but must instead maintain their existing fields.

And a local resident, Ben Zimba named Chijokeni, Munyathe, Mnyoka, Mthwalo and Ponda as areas where people were cutting trees to produce huge quantities of charcoal.

“What I have observed is that people here are poor, and they are forced to engage themselves in charcoal burning to earn a living without knowing the consequences,” he said.

Mr Zimba has suggested to charcoal burners to abandon their activities and instead apply for Constituency Development Funds to engage in less destructive business activities.

Meanwhile, Magodi Community Forest Management Group (CFMG) Chairperson Androse Zimba recently said his group is prepared to empower charcoal burners who are ready to stop the vice with goats, pigs and chicken to venture into either livestock or poultry business.

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