Harare City Junior Council in partnership with Miracle Missions, African Evangelistic Enterprise Zimbabwe (AEEZ) and Forestry Commission on Friday 1ST of December 2017 held a tree planting day at Waterfalls District Council Offices.
The tree planting had initially been scheduled for Lord Malvern High School but was later changed to the district offices. The event was commemorated under the theme “Make Harare Green Again”.
The event was attended by various school representatives including, Allan Wilson, Ellis Robins, Oriel Boys, Oriel Girls, Glen View 1 High School, Prince Edward, Adventry Hope Academy, Gateway High School amongst other schools present, there were also representatives from Forestry Commission, LEO Club, SOS Children Village and Junior Councillors.
Bishop Guide Makore, from AEEZ, who was the guest of honour, encouraged the Junior Councillors to influence the safe keeping of trees as they play many roles in human lives.
“Trees enhance quality of life in both urban and rural areas and also, trees improve the quality of air by acting as natural air filters as they remove dust, smoke and fumes from the atmosphere by trapping through their leaves, branches and trunks,” he said.
The invited guests also had a presentation from Miracle Missions and Forest Commission on how to plant trees and the major drivers of deforestation in Zimbabwe.
In Zimbabwe after every five years, an aerial survey is conducted checking the gap between deforestation and afforestation. According to the inventory report done by Forestry Commission in 2014, the rate of deforestation had risen to 330 000 hectares per annum.
Duncan Chilawa, District Forestry Extension Officer for Harare Metropolitan said that there are four major drivers to deforestation in Zimbabwe.
“Housing developments constitute about 42 percent, people are cutting down trees, converting prime agricultural land to housing development, agricultural industry especially tobacco industry is also another driver, were 16 cords of firewood is used to cure 1 tonne of tobacco, followed by construction materials and firewood collection, “he said.
Chiwala emphasized the need to change in attitude when it comes to trees.
“It is everyone’s duty to look after the environment for our well-being and future generations to come. So, tree planting should not only be commemorated by few individuals but even in our homes, lets plant trees so that we add more carbon dioxide sinks in our systems to make sure we have something that absorbs excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Once we have got that, it will stabilize the amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted in the atmosphere at the same time we will be managing our ozone layer,” he said.
The Junior Councillors planted 17 fruit trees and gave out 220 Australian gum trees to guests present curtsey of AEEZ, Miracle Missions and Curtley Matavire former Junior Councillor.
Michael Chikanga, District officer for Hatfield and Waterfalls assured the Junior Councillors that the planted trees will be taken care of.
“What I can assure everybody present is that I am going to make sure that these trees we have planted today are going to be looked after, so that they will grow up and we enjoy the fruits from them. We have learnt that trees generate oxygen and they use carbon dioxide which pollutes the air we breathe, “he said.
Some of the effects of deforestation include loss of bio diversity, loss of leaf leather, hence low soil fertility, increased runoff, increased temperatures, and reduced recharge of underground water table amongst other factors.
In Zimbabwe Tree planting is celebrated on the first Saturday of December every year. The day was set aside in 1980 to launch the tree planting season. It was declared by the former President Robert Mugabe and since then the day has become an important part of Zimbabwe’s environmental calendar.