Government plans to extend the forest cover at the Zambezi river source in Ikeleng’i district by 1,700 hectares in order to protect and sustain the existence of the river source.
The Zambezi river source it currently sitting on 270 hectares of land, making it one of the smallest forest reserves in the country.
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Elijah Muchima said the current 270 hectares of forest is being threatened by increased human activities which are affecting the source.
Mr. Muchima said this in Ikeleng’i district today during commemorations to mark this year’s World Rivers Day under the theme; ‘importance of rivers for biodiversity’.
“As a ministry, we intend to increase the forest here at the Zambezi river source by about 1,700 hectares,” he said.
Mr. Muchima said the Zambezi river source is critical for supporting communities that depend on it for survival as well as economic activities such as power generation.
Speaking at the same event, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Country Director, Nachilala Nkombo called on government to legally protect the source of the Zambezi river which she said is important to national economic development.
Ms. Nkombo said not protecting the Zambezi river source will put the many lives that depend on it for survival at risk.
“Our plea is for government to take steps and legally protect this source. Lack of its protection will put the lives of people that depend on it at risk,” she said.
Speaking earlier, Stanbic Bank Chief Executive Officer, Mwiindwa Siakalima said there is need for all stakeholders to partner with government in securing the source of the Zambezi river.
Mr. Siakalima said preservation of the source will help mitigate the impact of climate change on the environment.