Findings by environmental experts have revealed that political interference is the main reason for the depletion of urban green space in the Malawi.
Cities are said to be centres of social and economic development resulting in challenges on how to manage their growth to ensure human well-being is prioritised.
The research findings were disseminated at a stakeholders meeting that was held in Lilongwe to determine why cities have lost the greenspaces and measures that could help in restoring the lost canopy cover.
Greenspace infrastructure refers to landscapes, green plants in peoples surrounding including those around the rivers and conserved plain spaces in towns and cities.
It is believed that the phenomenon has led to the country experiencing high temperatures that have had negative effects resulting to heavy rains, floods and environmental degradation.
Following the meeting, a research support group composed of officials and experts from the public, private and statutory institutions was constituted to help in providing guidance on the same.
According to the co-principle investigator who is also the team leader from LUANAR, Associate Professor David Nkwambisi, indicated that the intention is for the research findings to be taken and applied by stakeholders to support sustainable use and management of urban greenspaces.
He observes that the government needs to be cautious when allocating different plots of land to investors as political and corrupt trends have adversely contributed to the problem.
“Lack of proper procedures, planning and consultations are a key issue in Malawi when it comes to allocation of land especially to those planning huge investment
As Universities, we have to work with stakeholders in effective ways so that together we can design, implement, monitor and share results and lessons with those who make decisions and who are affected by those decisions,” said Nkwambisi.
Meanwhile, Spokesperson for the department of environmental affairs and under the ministry of energy and mining Sangwani Phiri admits the problem is real and has had huge impact on human life.
He cites urbanisation, industrialisation and population boom as the main reasons for the loss of green canopy in cities and towns.
However he reveals his department is working on the issue to ensure that cities and towns are back to their normal being and provide people with the much needed cooling effects.
He highlights: “As a ministry we are working tirelessly with all the city and town councils to ensure that we restore all the lost cover
and very soon you will see change.”
During the meeting, participants noted that urban greenspaces in Cities have been destroyed resulting in loss of biodiversity, increased temperatures and floods that have affected all groups of urban dwellers.
The stakeholders meeting was organised by the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural resources LUANAR in collaboration with the University of Leeds of the United Kingdom under the governments Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).