Where are we going?
Wanton destruction of trees worriesome
By Steve Ephraem
THE wanton destruction of trees by rural folk of Gudo in Chiredzi and Checheche in Chipinge is worrying community leaders in Checheche where the wood has a ready market. People from Gudo are ferrying mopane and lead wood for sale at Checheche Growth Point.
Checheche in Chipinge district and Gudo in Chiredzi district are areas separated by Save River but are on the same geographical region.
On 21 November 2022, a community leader, Win Bhila, in Checheche raised an alarm to the Checheche residents through a Combined Checheche Residents WhatsApp group highlighting how trees are being over-exploited in the region.
“Imagine I have counted more than 50 ox-drawn and donkey-drawn carts full of wood between 6am and 9am today. The carts are coming from Gudo area. We shall make life difficult for us and the coming generation of we keep this act up.
“We don’t prevent people from using wood but it should be harvested in a sustainable manner. We need to be positive about the environment and the future of our planet, health and the coming generation so we must prevent the extinction of our indigenous trees,” he said.
When this publication contacted him, Bhila went further to urge citizens to resort to green energy.
“In this era of climate change, we must resort to environmental friendly sources of energy such as gas, solar power, and use cement bricks since most people are destroying trees for brick moulding.
“If we are not careful, our area shall end up being a desert and having strong destructive winds. We urge all responsible authorities to act fast before the situation gets out of hand for good,” he added.
Contacted for a comment, Chipinge District Forestry and Extension Officer, Robinson Toronga, expressed concern on the destructive mode which the people of Gudo and Checheche have engaged.
“It is a worrisome development to note that 50 ox-drawn and donkey-drawn carts full of wood enter a place such as Checheche alone in just a few hours.
The trees they are destroying are protected species under Zimbabwean law.
“Unfortunately, Gudo isn’t under my jurisdiction since it falls under Chiredzi. But the fact that the market is in Chipinge, we cannot just watch it continue like that. We have to take swift action.
“I am going to contact other government arms such as Chipinge Rural District Council, Environmental Management Agency and the Police to come up with an action plan on how best we can bring the situation to normalcy,” he said.