A call has gone out to the corporate world to join hands in safeguarding the environment by participating in this year’s tree planting campaign.
The sentiments were made on Tuesday 6 February, 2024 when Old Mutual Malawi through its subsidiary Life Assurance Company, donated 2000 tree seedlings which have been planted along the Mudi dam catchment area in Blantyre.
Speaking at the event, Old Mutual (Malawi) Life Assurance Company Managing Director, Roy Punungwe, said being the proud residents of the City, his company thought of contributing to the preservation of the environment, particularly at Mudi Catchment area where there is a dam supplying water to the city.
Punungwe said each year, Old Mutual joins the Government of Malawi in participating in the tree planting season which takes place in the rainy season and this year was unexceptional, hence the donation of 2000 tree seedlings to the Blantyre Water Board.
He added that as an organisation, they believe that their responsibility extends beyond the financial protection of their customers, but also to the communities they serve and the ecosystem they inhabit and added that the universal and local impact of climate change continues to spur their business, hence the idea to actively participate in this initiative as a way of mitigating its ramifications.
“This year, the free planting season was just launched in mid-January and if you are as old as I am, you will recall that this period used to commence around October when we used to have the first rains. This just speaks to the effects of climate change, exercises like the one we are partaking today can help mitigate those effects.
“Currently, we are faced with multiple environmental related challenges including climate change and dwindling natural resources, this activity demonstrates our commitment to play our role in solving these problems, and ultimately, planting trees aligns with our decarbonisation drive. It is common knowledge that trees cleans and refresh the air and are carbon sinks against carbon contained in greenhouses gases released in our environment,” said Punungwe.
He then announced that on 15th February, this year, Old Mutual Malawi will host a grand tree planting exercise at Michiru Mountain Forest in the city.
On his part, Joe Chimeta who is Blantyre Water Board Water Quality and Environmental Manager commended Old Mutual Malawi Management for the idea to take a leading role in mitigating effects of climate change by engaging in the reforestation initiatives and has since wooed other companies to emulate the example.
“Mudi catchment area was encroached by people living in the surrounding areas and in 2008 the catchment area was gazetted as a water control area and since then we have been planting trees but just because the area is too large it has got 890 hectares, Blantyre Water Board cannot manage to plant all that area within a short period of time, that’s why we had to ask the stakeholders, especially our corporate colleagues, to assist us in the reforestation of the catchment area. We are thankful to Old Mutual and we also ask other companies to follow suit,” said Chimeta.
He revealed that the precious tree planting activities have contributed to the huge improvement which is being recorded saying from the time they started planting trees in the catchment area, they have seen improvement in the water quality in the dam and the siltation that was there in the past is now reducing to the extent that the board is applying less chemicals to treat the water than it was doing in the past.