OPPOSITION leader Nelson Chamisa says his party pledges to plant about two million trees across the country by 2026 as part of global duty for the good of the environment.
Although trees are important for the environment, however owing to lack of access to alternative sources of energy people resorted to wood which is readily available.
Zimbabwe has tried over the years to ensure there is access to electricity especially in the rural areas through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) but the project has moved at a snail speed.
In a statement after planting trees in Norton as part of the commemoration of World Tree Planting day, Chamisa said tree planting must be a habit across the country and that communities must be climate smart.
“…I was in Norton to plant what I termed ‘the New Zimbabwe Democracy tree’. We aim to plant two million trees annually until 2026 and even beyond. All our cities, towns, villages and communities must be climate smart making Zimbabwe a wholly GREEN country by 2026.
“I urge tree planting as a habit and a culture by all Zimbabweans. It has the potential to be replicated by other citizens elsewhere. I am urging Zimbabweans to each plant a tree for democracy, for peace, for love and for harmony with the environment.
“Planting trees is an attitude of gratitude to the Creator, God the Almighty who gave us the precious fiduciary duty to exercise judicious stewardship over HIS creations. Indeed, planting trees is our gift to the future and next generations,” he said.
Chamisa added that “planting a tree is a pledge and a commitment to environmental peace for years to come. It is vital to note that planting trees and the patience of growing a tree is the same as building a functional democracy.
“In this era of global warming and climate change, trees play an important role in creating buffers against the possible effects of climate change.
“As a SMART government, we believe that climate change is real, and we must all take responsibility for mitigating against its effect.
“Trees contribute to the environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, sequestering carbon, protecting biodiversity, preventing soil erosion and supporting wildlife,” said Chamisa.
Meanwhile, the MDC leader has called on Parliament to put in place laws and stiffer penalties for those who destroy the environment adding that change must begin with taking charge of our environment to protect and preserve it.
“Authorities and parliament need to show seriousness by enacting legislation to criminalise the destruction of wetlands and the indiscriminate cutting down of trees. Stiffer enough penalties to the offenders. We need sustainable afforestation projects.
“Across the country, the Tobacco industry must recover but not at the cost of the environment. Tobacco farmers must invest in solar to save our trees,” he said.