Minister of Green, Economy and Environment Collins Nzovu has warned illegal settlers burning charcoal in the Mumbwa game management area 14, to immediately desist from the practice.
Mr Nzovu said the government will not hesitate to prosecute anyone found burning charcoal or cutting trees in the protected area.
The Minister indicated that it is illegal to produce charcoal in a game management area under the forest Act.
He explained that the forest Act is clear on the illegal cutting down of trees or producing of charcoal as it is a prosecutable offense.
ZANIS reports that Mr Nzovu stressed that government has enough legal provisions to persecute those dealing in charcoal.
“The new down government will strictly follow the law in order to protect forest from depilation.”
Speaking when he visited the illegal production site for charcoal in Mumbwa game management area 14.
Mr Nzovu said the indiscriminate cutting down of trees is negatively affecting the rain pattern.
He cautioned the charcoal burners to refrain from cutting trees as it is a criminal offense.
The Minister however assured the charcoal burners that government is keen on teaching them sustainable ways of living.
He cited bee keeping as one of the alternatives that government is encouraging charcoal burners to venture into, in order to protect forests from depilation.
The Minister has since appealed to cooperating partners to assist government in coming up with programmes that will promote sustainable forest management.
And a charcoal burner Lazarus Mwamba, explained that lack of meaningful employment forced him to venture into charcoal production.
When asked whether he was aware of the impact of cutting down trees, Mr Mwamba said he was fully aware but had no option other than engaging in charcoal production.