Expectations are high that Malawi’s capital city will regain its lost glory through an initiative called 'Greening Lilongwe' aimed at restoring degraded open spaces and riverine buffer zones in the city.
It was launched by the City’s new Mayor Richard Banda at Kaliyeka primary school where about 5,000 seedlings have been donated to facilitate the process.
Among others, the campaign will involve planting of avenue trees along the major roadsides of the city, establishment of green schools, office spaces, homesteads and cemeteries.
He appealed to the Kaliyeka community to plant and take care of the seedlings donated towards the cause.
“This is a welcome idea to our communities here. I know that they will support the city to plant these trees within our communities, our households, in churches and in the cemetery too.
“Most of the floods which were affecting our city they will reduce because we have a challenge of trees, so in this case because we have planted more trees, that challenge I think it will not be there in the next season, and people from Lilongwe will be covered from floods,” noted Banda.
To ensure survival of the trees, the City council has involved block and community leaders, headmaster of the school and learners in the initiative.
Lilongwe City Council chief executive officer John Chome described the Greening Lilongwe campaign as an ambitious and important one aimed at restoring the city’s environmental credentials being lost every day through overuse, exploitation and abuse of natural resources.
“So today we’re starting a campaign for the next five years which is going to see a restoration of 500 hectares of degraded lands, this will be along our rivers, along our streets, in schools and in various other open spaces across the city.
“We have mobilised a lot of partners to participate in this initiative these range from the schools we are talking about, government departments, private sector, individuals, youth groups religious groups and so many other groups who have partnered with the city council to be able to plant as many trees as possible to be able to restore as many hectares of degraded land in the city as possible,” he said.
Coordinator for the Global landscape forum Lilongwe chapter Dr. Steve Makuwa underscored the need to restore the city’s landscape by planting trees in the urban areas.
He stressed on the need to restore the degraded landscapes in the schools along the roads and all open spaces to make Lilongwe green with technical know how to implement the campaign.
The campaign is being spearheaded by the city council in partnership with Global landscape forum (GLFX) together with Open Spaces Inc. and Association of environmental journalists.