Zambia News

Charcoal Production Ban Implemented in 3 Districts to Combat Climate Crisis

Charcoal production has been targeted as a critical factor in addressing the escalating climate crisis, as the government issues a ban on charcoal production permits in three districts.

In a decisive move to address the escalating climate crisis, the government has issued a ban on charcoal production permits in three districts. This directive, issued by the Green Economy and Environment Minister, Collins Nzovu, aims to curb deforestation and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

The affected districts— Itezhi-tezhi, Mumbwa, and Shibuyunji—have been identified as hotspots for illegal tree cutting, contributing to widespread land degradation and deforestation. The ban comes amidst record-high temperatures, reaching 40 degrees Celsius in February and March, exacerbating the severity of the drought gripping the country.President Hakainde Hichilema declared the drought a national disaster earlier this year, acknowledging its devastating effects on agriculture, water supply, and energy generation. The resulting power cuts, lasting up to eight hours a day, have heightened reliance on charcoal as a cooking fuel, further exacerbating deforestation.

Minister Nzovu emphasized the critical role of trees in mitigating climate change, highlighting their ability to absorb and store carbon emissions. Preserving forests has become increasingly urgent as Zambia grapples with the dual challenges of climate change and environmental degradation.

Effective immediately, the ban prohibits the issuance of Cord Wood Permits for charcoal production in the designated districts. Individuals currently holding valid permits have until May 1st, 2024, to conclude their charcoal production activities. Stricter enforcement measures, including enhanced patrols and penalties for non-compliance, will be implemented to ensure adherence to the directive.

Below is the Full Press Statement
Zambia is currently experiencing a climate crisis of unprecedented proportions, characterised by record high temperatures,reaching 40 degrees during the months of February and March 2024.These extreme temperatures were particularly severe in areas that were concurrently experiencing record low rainfall levels.The massive cutting down of trees over the years has contributed to the severe drought being experienced in the country.Therefore, in order for us to reduce the impacts of these severe droughts,it is extremely important for all the relevant stakeholders including the traditional leadership,church,non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – to join hands with my ministry to conserve the remaining trees across the country and prevent more severe droughts in future.

Inadequate rainfall has devastating consequences on many sectors such as agriculture,water and energy supply,jeopardizing the national food and energy security and the livelihoods of millions of our people.The current load shedding that we a re experiencing today is a result of climate change with he massive cutting down of trees across the country over the years greatly contributing to this climate disaster.

It is in light of the above that I direct the Director Forestry to immediately stop the issuance of Cord Wood Permits for the production of charcoal in Itezhi-Tezhi,Mumbwa and Shibuyungi districts pursuant to Section 5(3) of the Forests Act,2015.Persons currently in possession of valid Cord Wood Permits have only up to 1st May,2024 in within which to finalise their charcoal production.Please note that this is just the beginning as more districts will be added as the Forestry Department continues assessing tree stock levels across the country.

I wish to sternly caution that,any person that will be found manufacturing wood into charcoal or offer for sale or removes charcoal in any form from State Land or Customary land IN ANY PART OF THE COUNTRY without a permit commts an offense and will be liable to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.I further direct that patrols be enhanced to ensure compliance with this directive and persons found wanting must be prosecuted accordingly.

Source: BBC

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