As one way of reducing the effects of climate change, Rumphi based Roscher Youth Development Centre (RYDC) is promoting construction of environmentally friendly houses in disaster prone areas of the country.
RYDC Executive Director Moir Walita Mkandawire said his organisation is promoting the construction of earth bag houses which use sacks filled with soil or sand as building blocks with barbed wire holding them together to save remaining trees.
He said the concept will be supportive considering that human activities such as construction using burnt bricks costs a lot of trees thereby causing disasters such as floods and hailstorms.
“The construction of earth bag houses concept will assist in conserving the environment by curbing wanton cutting down of trees, which are mostly used in baking bricks.
“We have seen that burnt bricks have consumed a lot of trees in most areas of the country this has led to regular occurrence of natural disasters like floods and droughts,” Mkandawire explained.
He made the observations Thursday during daylong training on construction of earth bag houses that drew together chiefs and members of the Area Development Committee from Traditional Authority Kilupula in Karonga district.
Chairperson of Kilupula Area Development Committee (ADC), Nelson Mwakisulu, said the skills he acquired to build earth bag houses will go a long way in curbing cutting down of trees and assist communities to adapt to effects of climate change.
“The earth bag houses are cost effective as well as environmental friendly which will help in conserving the environment and reduce the wanton cutting down of trees that has devastating effects to human life,” said Mwakisulu.
Natural disasters ranging from drought, cyclone, landslides to floods have regularly affected districts of Karonga and Rumphi in the past.
Meanwhile RYDC has disclosed that it intends to extend the construction of earth bag houses concept to other disaster prone districts of the country.
Mwakisulu also said cultivating along the river banks which has come due to overpopulation is also an emerging factor for the perennial disasters affecting Karonga district.
“We are encouraging people to stop cultivating along riverbanks and catchment areas in order to maintain the vegetative cover and prevent runoff of water which causes floods in the district,” he added.
RYDC is initiating earth bag houses concept with technical and financial support from German based Support Malawi Heidelberg.
The concept is likely to be hailed by government which is discouraging the usage of burnt bricks in development projects and instead promotes the use of cement blocks and Stabilize Soil Blocks (SBB) in building projects.