Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) members have been challenged to be custodians of the country’s natural resources and assist in reducing environmental degradation.
In a speech read on his behalf by Brigadier-General Inspectorate, Brig-Gen Ernest Shamu, during a belated Tree Planting Day held in Dzivaresekwa last Friday, ZNA Commander Lieutenant-General Edzai Chimonyo emphasised the need for the members of the security forces to spearhead afforestation exercises.
He said this will mitigate the effects of global warming in their respective communities.
“It is our responsibility as members of the security forces to champion planting of trees in our respective communities to reduce the effects of global warming,” he said.
“This should be one of our obligation during peacetime.”
The tree of the year was Granite Passion/Mutunduru.
Lt-Gen Chimonyo warned soldiers to desist from causing environmental degradation through cutting down of trees.
“It is our duty as members of the army to stop practices which degrade the environment unnecessarily,” he said.
“We need to plant more trees to save our country, continent and planet at large.”
Lt-Gen Chimonyo said planting of trees was vital as it contributed to global health.
“Planting trees is one of the important things we can do to contribute to the health of the planet. Trees in urban areas filter air by absorbing gases and removing harmful particles by trapping them on their leaves and bark.”
Lt-Gen Chimonyo bemoaned the rampant destruction of forests in the country.
“Our forests are being threatened by increased human activities and encroachment. This has resulted in the rapid environmental degradation, thereby reducing our existing green natural resource base to meet current and future societal needs.”
Commander Harare District Colonel Charles Mhaka said planting of trees should be a culture.
“We must always plant trees and develop this into a culture as we lead the general citizens in the conservation of our environment,” Col Mhaka said.
Forestry Commission extension officer, Mr Duncan Chiwala, applauded ZNA for playing a leading role in planting trees.
“ZNA, you are doing the nation proud by always leading by example in tree planting,” he said.
“Trees save various purposes in our everyday lives and they combat the effects of climate change.
“According to the survey that we carried out, one tree can supply six people with oxygen, so let us always practice this noble cause.”
The tree planting programme was sponsored by Nyaradzo Holdings and other stakeholders.