First Lady decries deforestation

FIRST Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa yesterday bemoaned the wanton cutting down of trees and urged Zimbabweans to join forces and curb deforestation.

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Speaking during a provincial launch of the Integrated Schools Environmental Programme at Mutendi High School, the First Lady said her heart bleeds over the problem.

‘’My heart bleeds over the rate at which trees are being wantonly cut in some areas,” she said.

“Sometimes I even stop with my team to put off a veld fire that would have been started and my heart is pained by this.

‘’The rate at which trees are being wantonly destroyed in some areas is inexplicable and painful. I was travelling the other day and got disturbed at the destruction of trees that has occurred along the highway to Gutu. We must join hands and make sure we preserve our environment for the benefit of future generations.’’

The First Lady, who was conferred the role of patron for the environment by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, said a good, safe and healthy environment was key in attracting the much-needed foreign direct investment.

‘’I implore all of us to support the President’s vision for Zimbabwe to attain an upper middle income status by 2030 and this is only possible through our hard work and in partnership with foreign investors,” said the First Lady.

“Zimbabwe can only be attractive to a foreign investor if we maintain a clean, safe and healthy environment. Realising the President’s vision requires every citizen to take responsibility to ensure that this environmental goal is attained.’’

The First Lady appealed to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to make it mandatory that every Friday is dedicated to cleaning the school environment.

She implored the Ministry of Primary and and Secondary Education to take advantage of the new curriculum and introduce environmental education as part of extra-curriculum activities.

The First Lady said this would expose learners to best environmental ethos.

Amai Mnangagwa said the Integrated Environmental Programme was supposed to be replicated in other schools throughout the country.

Under the programme, schools with assistance from the Forestry Commission, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority are given support to venture into fisheries and development of fruit orchards.

In her address, Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education Dr Sylivia Utete-Masango paid tribute to the First Lady for her passion for the environment.

Dr Utete-Masango acceded to the First Lady’s request that every last Friday of the month be dedicated to the cleaning of the environment at schools.

Earlier, the First Lady and Zion Christian Church leader Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi had toured the fledgling fisheries project at Mutendi High School where about 7 000 fingerlings were stocked.

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