Save Environment People Agency (SEPA) says lack of enhanced capacity building on forest dependency, has contributed to high rate of environmental degradation.
SEPA Chief Executive Officer, Mailes Muke says enhanced capacity building in communities will result in holding decision makers accountable on their rights to environmental protection.
Speaking during a stakeholders meeting on environmental protection in Zambezi yesterday, Ms Muke said her organisation is for this reason working with traditional leaders and stakeholders in its awareness campaign on protecting the environment.
“ There is need to build capacity in communities and deepen their understanding of sustainable environmental protection and sustainable natural resources management as well as close gaps between good and bad environmental practices, “ she emphasised.
The Chief Executive Officer further stated that bridging the gaps will help communities to appreciate government policies on forest management and thereby be more confident in holding government institutions and Extractive Industries accountable.
Due to high effect of environmental degradation most people develop avoidable illnesses thereby increasing government’s budget on drugs.
“We can reduce the cost of medicine and save a lot of money on government spending on medicines if only all of us become responsible for the environment.
“No one cares about the water and the environment. All they do is pollute the environment and move on without knowing the impact it has on humans as a result many lives are lost”, she lamented.
And Zambezi council environmental officer, Carol Mooto said that lack of interest and ownership of the land by the communities has been one of the major contributing factors to environmental degradation hence the need for the community to take part in protecting it.
Ms Mooto lamented that people come from other places to harvest timber and make more money at the expense of the owners all because they have least value in the land they own.
She has since urged communities to stop blaming the government for their negligence, saying they should now take ownership by holding accountable those who extract the timber and other minerals in their respective areas.