Parliament on Tuesday passed the Water Resources Bill which among other things seeks to address the problem of water pollution in the country’s numerous water bodies.
After facing heavy scrutiny from members of parliament sitting in Lilongwe the bill was being debated on the floor and finally passed into law after the Minister of Water Development and Irrigation, Richie Muheya gave his winding speech and acknowledged all the proposals and suggestions which members of the house made on the bill.
Many legislators who contributed to the debate raised concerns on the level of water pollution in the country being perpetrated by people around the catchment areas of various water bodies and also degradation of the country’s forest reserves.
Member of Parliament for Dedza North West Alekeni Menyani of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) expressed worry in his contribution at how the Dzalanyama forest is being plundered by people who are in the charcoal making business.
“It seems people in these catchment areas do not realize the importance of these natural reserves. What is happening at Dzalanyama forest for example is very pathetic. We need to stress to these communities of the significance of having such natural reserves or else we are headed for a disaster,” said the MCP Member of Parliament.
Menyani suggested that government should make a plan to engage these communities in some economic generating activities as one way of discouraging them from relying on these forests as a source of their income for their livelihood.
During her submission the Minister of Irrigation and water Resources Richie Muheya said luckily the bill has a component of sensitization and they intend to carry out awareness campaigns to inform the communities on the importance of these reserves.
“Protection of Natural reserves is a collective responsibility and from these awareness campaigns am sure we will enlighten these communities on their responsibilities towards these natural reserves because at the end of the day we all stand to lose if they are not taken care of,” said Muheya.
Muheya also told the house that his ministry is still doing the environmental impact assessment on the prospects of oil drilling on Lake Malawi and once the exercise is over the nation will be informed of the way forward.