By Ndatenda Njanike (press and communications officer)
Climate Justice expert Sandra Masike says that solar energy can be an alternative option to save Zimbabwe from deforestation being caused by Tobacco farmers.
Tobacco is the number one foreign currency generator in the country and cigarettes are the most consumed commodity in the nation
Zimbabwe is the largest tobacco grower in Africa and is the 7th largest grower in the world according to 2021 data.
“Deforestation occurs to make way for tobacco plantations, a curing process that requires large amounts of wood fuel.
“Alternatives for curing include using renewable energy such as solar. Using nicotine-free tobacco substitutes, herbal blends, and e-cigarettes.
“Coal is never a sustainable option since the process releases pollutants into the air contributing to air pollution and climate.
“The mining and transportation of coal alone have negative impacts on the environment and local communities.” She added.
Sandra is a qualified ecologist. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences majoring in Ecology and Zoology from the University of Zimbabwe. She has had experience working with African Lion and Environmental Trust (ALERT).
She is a member of the Zimbabwe Youth Biodiversity Network (ZYBN) and African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC).