VICE-PRESIDENT Guy Scott says there is need to sensitise charcoal-burners and people in rural areas on the dangers of the indiscriminate cutting down of trees.
Dr Scott said this in Livingstone yesterday at the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) tree-planting exercise organised by GreenPop and sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank Zambia.
About 200 trees were planted during the exercise spiced with traditional dances by cultural groups from Nakonde, Kalabo and Solwezi.
UNWTO delegates led by Dr Scott and his wife Charlotte, Minister of Tourism and Arts Sylvia Masebo, Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Nkandu Luo and tourism ministers from Tunisia, Greece, Egypt, Libya and Colombia planted the trees at the Victoria Falls.
“We must persuade our people to plant trees for the future generation of Zambia. As you can see, there are many threats to these little trees we are planting today…one elephant’s foot or that of a hippo can demolish this in one goal.
“We need to come up with programmes to save our trees from animal and human threats,” he said.
Dr Scott commended GreenPop for helping to ‘green’ Livingstone and Zambia as a whole as the country faces deforestation resulting from charcoal burning.
He said charcoal is not just used in Zambia but is exported to neighbouring countries legally and illegally.
Earlier, GreenPop director Lauren O’Donnel said the organisation was established to promote sustainable and responsible eco-tourism to make the sector green through tree- planting.
“I am inspired and excited to see everyone here ready to get dirty by planting trees. It’s a tree revolution, we have planted over 30,000 trees in the last three years,” she said.
Standard Chartered Bank Zambia acting managing director Kelvin Musana said the bank’s participation in the tree-planting exercise is a joint venture with Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe to plant 1,200 trees.
“Standard Chartered Bank is committed to raising awareness and taking action to protect our environment in Zambia, Africa and the globe.
“Protecting the environment in which we live and operate is one of our key sustainability priorities,” he said.
Mr Musana said deforestation remains one of the key challenges facing the country.
He said the bank is happy to have partnered with the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, the Department of Forestry and GreenPop to make the tree-planting exercise a reality.