Blantyre — Puma Energy in conjunction with Blantyre Press Club (BPC) has expressed dissatisfaction over the continued practice of charcoal business in the country which is contributing to the depletion of forests.
Puma Energy Managing Director, Dr. Davies Lanjesi, has since called on Malawians to employ other alternative sources of energy such as gas and electricity for household use to scale down charcoal business in the country.
"Charcoal business is a challenge in Malawi. Personally, I have been asking people as to why they burn trees for charcoal and the response has been to earn a living. I believe we can find an alternative to charcoal business and also explore other ways of bringing energy at household level.
"Or if we insist with charcoal business, make sure to plant at least five trees in replacement to a tree which has been burnt for charcoal to ensure that we restore forests," he said.
Dr Lanjesi was speaking on Saturday in Blantyre during a tree planting exercise which saw the media grouping, puma energy and communities planting 6000 trees at Chikumbu and Makanjira villages in Traditional Athourity Kunthembwe.
Dr Lanjesi said the exercise is in line with Puma Energy and BPC core objective to ensure that bare grounds and river bank catchment area are covered with vegetation to prevent adverse effects of deforestation.
"We are now in Kunthembwe area which is approximately 8 kilometres to Likhubula river. The idea is to plant more trees to bring rainfall and improve water table so as to assist in hydro power generation which will go a long way in increasing companies production and accelerate country' economy," he explained.
In his remarks, BPC President Blessings Kanache said the club decided to take tree planting exercise to Kunthembwe to sensitize communities to desist from engaging in charcoal business.
"We are excited that the communities have welcomed the message and are committed to plant more trees and take care of them so that together we complement government's effort to re-afforestate Shire river catchment area and also cover bare grounds with trees," he said.
Senior Chief Kunthembwe thanked Blantyre Press Club and Puma Energy for engaging them in tree planting exercise assuring to protect the planted trees to achieve 100 percent survival rate.
Meanwhile, the traditional leader has instituted strict measures to punish charcoal burners as well as confiscate charcoal bags.
The Partnership between Puma Energy and BPC aim to plant one million trees across the country and since 20l3 over 200, 000 trees have been planted in different areas including Blantyre, Zomba, Machinga, Lilongwe (Dzalanyama) and Nkhatabay to restore forests.