Forests Slowly Disappearing In Zimbabwe

By Ndatenda Njanike

As the power crisis in Zimbabwe increases and with the growing tobacco industry the nation’s forests are destined for doom.

Forests provide a lot to human health. They purify the water, clean the air, capture carbon to fight climate change, provide food and life-saving medicines, and improve our well-being.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.

Countries are encouraged to undertake local, national, and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.

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.

However, the impact of Tobacco

 is the process of curing, with so many farmers of the golden leaf our forests are destroyed as wood is used during the process.

“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.”  Sandra Masike Climate Justice Expert

A large number of trees are cut down during the curing process and this is slowly destroying the country’s vegetation.

Climate Change has worsened the energy crisis in the nation as the country depends heavily on Hydrothermal power.

The droughts witnessed in the past years have left the water levels in the Kariba dam low.

The Kariba thermal station which the country shares with neighboring Zambia can no longer sustain the nation and has caused many to turn to the forest for firewood. 

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