Communities redress South Rukuru River bank

Written by  Chimwemwe Milulu

Due to wanton cutting down of trees in river catchments and cultivating along the banks, water levels in many perennial rivers in the country do not only dwindle but also dry up during the dry season.

South Rukuru River, one of the rivers affected by wanton cutting of trees South Rukuru River, one of the rivers affected by wanton cutting of trees

South Rukuru, one of the major rivers in Malawi is not an exception. Since most of the hills and the river banks are laid bare, the river is silted and over the past few years, people living at Mzokoto and Phwezi in Rumphi District have been experiencing floods, putting lives and properties of communities in the area at risk.

The National Herbarium and Botanical Gardens of Malawi has called on people in the country to avoid cultivating along river banks as the practice encourages siltation which results in over-flooding of rivers.

To help the community to address the environmental challenges they have been facing, the National Herbarium and Botanic Gardens of Malawi, mid this year, invited the community members to visit their site in Mzuzu to appreciate how they are managing regenerated trees which have become a thick forest over the years.

"As Mzuzu National Herbarium and Botanical Gardens, we are equally concerned about the situation. This river is important not only to this community but the country as a whole. We therefore donated over 3,500 tree seedlings last year, which they planted along the river bank,’’ said Ignatius Malota, Assistant Curator at Mzuzu National Herbarium and Botanic Gardens.

According to the Rumphi District Forestry Officer, Gift Nyirenda, the district is implementing the Restoration and Aforestation of South Rukuru Project, targeting 16 villages in the area with funding from the Global Environmental Facility, GEF.

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