24 September 2017
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Monday, 17 July 2017 07:57

Trees cut 'temporarily' to pave way for 33 KV line in Lilongwe

Written by  Sylvester Kumwenda

Lilongwe, July 15, 2017: The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Malawi says about 300 trees which are being down in Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary and Namilombwa Forest in Lilongwe to pave way for the installation of a 33 kV power line will be replaced by 3000 trees.

Daulos Mauambeta, Environmental and Social Performance Director for MCA made the assurance to journalists that the US$ 350. 7 million grant agreement between the United States and Malawi governments for Malawi to reduce poverty through economic growth by revamping the energy sector will mitigate the project’s impact on the environment.

“Trees and electric lines do not go together and we are cutting down the trees to give way to this 33 kilovolts (KV) line. The trees being cut are being cut in what we call a temporary zone. This is an area which has been earmarked for future developments like water, telecommunication and power lines,” said Mauambeta.

One of the power lines in the project is the 33 KV Lilongwe line originating from a substation at Area 33 near Kamuzu Central Hospital. It will pass along the main road and the Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary where it will branch towards the Youth Drive Road and connect to a substation at Area 13.

“On the other hand we have the Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary itself which is a permanent zone which we are not touching at all,” said Mauambeta to journalists during a site visit.

According to him, MCA Malawi obtained permission to cut down the trees from three landlords that own pieces of land in the city. These are the Lilongwe City Council, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and the Department of Forestry.

The Department of Forestry, he said; provided permission to cut down some Malaina trees along the Namilombwa Forest near KCH roundabout.

Mauambeta however said MCA has put in place a strategy aimed at replacing the natural beauty that may be lost due to the development.

“We expect to cut down around 300 trees without accounting for the Malaina trees. We may lose at Namilombwa. But to ensure that we mitigate the permanent loss of any tree, MCA Malawi will be replacing each lost tree with ten additional trees,” said Mauambeta.

He added that all the protected species of the Mibawa trees will not be cut. Where necessary, only branches will be pruned. Similarly, all trees with branches leaning towards the sanctuary will not be cut.

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