ILALA District Commissioner (DC), Ms Sophia Mjema, has urged the municipal officers to withhold humanitarian activities, including construction and agriculture in wetlands to protect the environment.
On top of that, the DC stressed on the need for planting as many trees as possible to tackle climate change and prevent different diseases caused by the changing weather conditions. Ms Mjema said this during the commemoration of the International Tree Planting Day which was held at Yangeyange Primary School in Msongola ward.
“Trees have many values, including absorption of the sun’s radiation, preventing them from hitting directly on our skin, they also prevent us from getting diseases such as cancer,” said Ms Mjema. Apart from environmental protection and being the source of rain, she pointed out that trees are also medicinal and used to cure various diseases.
Ms Mjema directed the Local Government Authorities (LGAs) in the municipality to suspend any construction redirected on wetlands before it goes further.
“Trees should be planted in all swampy areas, along with setting boundaries which will help protect water sources and prevent floods from occurring and the government from going into conflicts with its people
. “We should not wait for people to finish constructing their houses and then start questioning them, where have you been when all this was going on?” she queried. The DC cautioned against the planting of harmful species from outside the country, and instead encouraged people on planting species like the oak and teak which help in restoration of natural vegetation.
She, however, reminded all councils in the region to re-plant tree along main roads which had earlier been planted during the launch of the tree campaign dubbed as ‘Mti Wangu’.
“By planting trees, we will achieve the set goal of eight million trees come the year 2019,” observed the DC. Statistics show that about 3,728,721 hectares of trees are lost every year where they are used for energy and construction purposes.
She said the use of wood for energy is estimated at 72 million cubic meters annually, while the capacity of forests in the country is 43 million cubic meters, which is below the required level, saying that the country has a shortage of 19 million cubic metres if you consider sustainable harvesting.
“Statistics show that Dar es Salaam alone exhausts half of the whole country’s consumption, this rate is huge, requiring major interventions on tree planting to cope with climate change,” she stressed.