9 August 2017

Malawi: 'Felling Trees Within the City Is Punishable'

Mzuzu — Mzuzu City Council (MCC), in collaboration with the Department of Forestry, has warned against cutting of trees anyhow within the city, saying it is prohibited by law.

According to the Forestry Act (1997), Environmental Management Act (1996) and Mzuzu City Town and Planning Act, felling trees of any type in the city is prohibited in both public and private land.

Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) on Monday, Public Relations Officer for Mzuzu City Council, Karen Msiska observed that a number of residents in the city are ignorant of the legislation regarding tree cutting within the city.

"We noted that people are cutting down trees indiscriminately, so we want to remind them that it is illegal to do that even if it is at your home.

"If you can go around the city, you will notice that many trees have been felled by the business people, claiming that they [trees] are obstructing their merchandise," said Mzuzu City PRO.

Msiska gave the example of some trees that have recently been cut down opposite Times Group Office within Mzuzu City, apparently to give a clear view of the commercial buildings the trees were obstructing.

The city council has, therefore, emphasized that the valid reason for cutting down of trees in the city is when they notice that the trees pose a danger to residents around it after inspection by the city officials.

Msiska has since requested those who want to fell trees within the city to consult Mzuzu Forestry Office and the Department of Parks for permission.

He said failure to abide by the instruction would be an offence that would make the offender liable to imprisonment or fine depending on the number of trees cut.

"In addition, upon conviction, the court may order the seizure of any material, be it a vehicle used to aid the malpractice," added Msiska.

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