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Zanzibar confiscates, destroys chainsaws

IN ongoing efforts to protect forests from illegal harvesting, authorities here have seized and burned eleven chainsaw machines.

The destruction was witnessed by the Minister responsible for forests, Mr Mmanga Mjengo Mjawir.

Mjawir commended forest rangers for maintaining surveillance which led to the arrest of criminals who cut down trees.

"We need to work together to protect our environment from unregulated cutting down of trees."

He said people should understand that one must have a licence to own a chainsaw, urging forest rangers operating under the Zanzibar Department of Forestry and Non-Renewable Natural Resources (DFNR), to be more vigilant.

Mr Soud Mohamed Juma-Director DFNR said serious measures are required to deal with perpetrators to save forest reserves in Zanzibar where uncontrolled illegal logging is still a problem.

In April this year, Mr Juma said that following a joint operation supervised by forest rangers and local guards they managed to confiscate more than 40 chainsaw machines used to cut down trees illegally.

"I ask members of the public to join hands with our forest guards to protect forests. Just reveal the perpetrators so that we can hunt and arrest them," he said.

 The director said that more than one-million mango trees and two-million coconut trees have been cleared in almost a decade by illegal loggers who sell it for wood and construction work.

 He said despite ongoing awareness campaigns about everyone's role in protecting forests, the cutting down of trees using electronic chainsaws remains a serious threat to the few forest reserves and trees in Zanzibar.

Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter in Zanzibar

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