Lilongwe City Council has embarked on a five-year Greening Lilongwe Campaign to make the Malawi capital city greener, healthier and resilient to extreme climate change events and other shocks.
Lilongwe Mayor Councilor Juliana Kaduya has since commended people who have expressed interest to join Greening Lilongwe Campaign to restore environment in the city.
Kaduya made the statement on Thursday during a press briefing that was conducted at the City Council’s offices.
She said that over the years due to the rapid urbanisation that cities are undergoing in the country, Lilongwe’s natural assets and habitats are fragmented, deforested and degraded.
“The observed consequences include loss of urban biodiversity; increased soil erosion, sedimentation and pollution along the city’s riverbanks and land surfaces; decreased water quality and supply in the city’s rivers; increased urban heat islands; increased impacts of major flood events, and reduced aesthetic sceneries of the city.
“Restoring the city’s degraded natural assets and habitats will improve urban biodiversity and stabilize the soils; reduce soil erosion and sedimentation; improve water quality and supply; and reduce impacts of major flood events, thus increasing climate resilience of the city residence and property,” she explained.
Kaduya also noted that the restoration will also improve urban ventilation, allowing for cooler air from the restored areas to penetrate into the more densely built areas, thereby reducing urban heat island effect.
On his part, Coordinator for Lilongwe Chapter of Global Landscapes Forum Steve Makungwa said that people are encouraged to support the initiative by donating seedlings including fruit trees, adopting a street, schools, open space or riverine area where they will plant trees.
Makungwa then asked anyone who will plant the trees to take care of them to help expand green areas by 300 hectares by 2025 and protect the city’s environment for future generations.
Greening Lilongwe Campaign seeks to restore 40 kilometers of rivers in the city with a 50-meter buffer zone, including 200 hectares of riverine areas of the city distributed as follows: 110 ha for Lilongwe River, 25 ha for Lingadzi River, and 65 ha for Nankhaka River ,re-establish 500 hectares of tree and forest cover on the city’s open spaces; along the major roadsides; on the city’s schools, office premises.