Ever since the artisanal miners’ invasion on the country’s vast mineral resources and landscapes, seeking instant riches or rather survival from gold and chrome deposits, or just trying to ease the jaws of biting economic conditions, land degradation has consumed a significant chunk of the country’s productive land and waterways.
By Peter Makwanya
Hence, if the country needs to move ahead productively and sustainably within the confinements of environmental protection, they should seriously consider restoring the lost hectarage and river banks back to their original statuses.
The restoration of lost land and decimated forests should be at the forefront of the country’s major policy blueprint, and would go a significantly a long way in mitigating against the vices of climate change, that are unleashing themselves undesirably, from all directions and fronts. This would indeed also support forest regeneration and restoration of carbon sinks underground, with enough potential to support Eco systemic growth, culture and preservation.
Forest restoration can also minimise soil erosion and flooding, as well as preserving moisture underground. A new impetus needs to be reoriented and reborn against the culture of plunder and destruction of physical features, which does not contribute to the paradigm of climate protection. These eco-freaky tendencies also leave the land not only exposed but also barren, dangerous for both wild animals and livestock, as well as the safety of human beings.
The fact that the majority of African people derive their livelihoods from forests does not mean that people have to be careless and indiscriminate with their natural growth systems. These are tendencies which defeat the whole purpose of dominionship and environmental stewardship.
Why is it always Africa, which should always be blamed from environmental negligence and lust for environmental Armageddon and why it is always the African people who need to be schooled at looking after their natural resources better? And why does Africa require a mentor to lecture it on conservation and adaptation issues, yet Africa has always been at the forefront of traditional ecological knowledge, or indigenous knowledge systems, necessary for environmental protection and growth.
Where is the hidden hand responsible for commercial decimation of forests in Africa and also for proxy mining tendencies that culminate into massive land degradation? Again, where is the political will of African leaders to initiate prosecution of agents of forest cleansing and plunder?
Besides all the green efforts and campaigns, deforestation and burning of bushes continue to be the major undoing against the African countries’ sustainable endeavours. Land restoration has such enormous benefits towards the people’s livelihoods hence untoward behaviours of the so-called artisanal miners need to remoulded and regulated along sustainable lines. They need to be cultured about the need for accountability, orderliness and decorum, where they should demonstrate a gesture to plant trees on the landscapes, where they would have reaped some minerals.
It’s not only the artisanal miners who are guilty of this crime as some of the tobacco farmers are guilty of destroying forests, as well. As such, they also need to mend their ways of relating with the forests.
Land and forest regenerations are some good examples of climate action activities that our national policy system enforcers pay lip-service to and, therefore, handle with kid gloves. Vanguards of environmental protection in this country are good at making noise without engaging into tangible actions.
As such, hearing themselves speak or appearing on national television, spreading their glib, machinations and rhetoric, is all that they want, without going an extra mile to enforce their current and existing laws to reprimand those guilty of destroying the land and forests, notwithstanding their social or political standings.
As we speak, many households in towns have been built on wetlands, with the town and city councils’ blessings of course.
Wetlands are vital natural ecosystems, threatened with rapid disappearance. Too much greenhouse gas emissions have been witnessed through wetland and forest destruction, as well as land degradation which has buried many rivers and streams.
Despite their destructive tendencies, African countries always attend climate change conferences in large numbers against the background of trails of environmental plunder and destructions at home.
These trails of destruction do not end there, they accelerate desertification in the South of the Sahara, while in the North they are trying hard to fight desertification.
Peter Makwanya is a climate change communicator. He writes in his capacity and can be contacted on: firstname.lastname@example.org