In a bid to support government’s initiatives of protecting the environment and natural resources, Mulanje South Parliamentarian, Bon Kalindo popularly known as Winiko halted a billboard project that was being erected near the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) in Lilongwe.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Wednesday, at the scene, Kalindo said he was very shocked and disappointed to find a gang of men wantonly cutting down trees which according to him are an important resource that adds to natural outlook to the surroundings of City Center and need not be cut like that.
Said Kalindo: “As Malawians, we need to be patriotic enough in preserving the natural beauty of the country; it is very sad to see people destroying our natural resources in the name of temporary and commercial structures like billboards”
He said as a concerned citizen, it is very unfortunate to note that Continental Outdoor Media was spearheading the distraction of the environment at the time when government is calling for everyone to support the national cause of reserving nature.
He therefore called on all Malawians to desist from the malpractice of destroying the country’s resources adding that natural trees are the most precious resources that all Malawians should be proud of.
“As a Member of Parliament I find it very useful to take part in the process of protecting the environment regardless of where am coming from because we are all Malawians,” said Kalindo.
In an interview with Nyasa Times, head of Continental Outdoor Media , Khwesi Msusa said the MP’s action was clearly done without having full information of the exercise.
“Please note that the exercise being done by Lilongwe City Assembly is cutting down ELEVEN trees that are obstructing some of our billboards and has Continental Outdoor Media planting One Hundred and Ten trees (Ten trees for every One cut down) and making a further donation of Twenty Thousand polythene pockets for growing Twenty Thousand trees that have to be planted within the Lilongwe City,” said Msusa.
Meanwhile Director of Planning and Development at the council Hilary Kamera commended Kalindo for taking up the initiative in stopping the ongoing project because it involved the cutting down of trees
And in an interview Kamera said they are engaged in discussions with the developer to reach an amicable settlement in light of the protestations from Kalindo.
Director of Parks Environment and Recreation, Allan Kwanjana confirmed the development saying that the project has since been put on hold pending discussions with the developer of the billboards.
When pressed for more details, Kwanjana referred Mana to the council’s Public Relations Officer Tamara Chafunya who asked for a questionnaire which had not yet been responded to as we went to press.
Kalindo has been in the news recently propagating for the protection of Mulanje Mountain against environmental degradation through careless cutting down of trees an issue that has left him at loggerheads with the Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT) and other players.
Kalindo therefore called on the council to issue a stern warning on protecting the environment when projects of that nature are taking place.
Jack Masapi a Lilongwe Business guru who joined Kalindo on the scene concurred with Kamera’s remarks and appreciated the gesture taken by the Mulanje South legistrator.
Masapi said, “Any sane person cannot dispute the fact that natural resources add beauty to the surroundings hence the need to protect them at all levels. It is high time that we show the love of nature that our country has.”
He said it is not right and proper for the council to prioritize revenue collection alone without considering the most paramount factors of environmental degradation.
Meanwhile the men who were involved in the cutting down of trees ran away leaving their tools behind while threatening to deal with this reporter as he was preparing his camera to capture them. –Mana/Nyasa TimesFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :