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A tree-mendous task for Harare

A tree-mendous task for Harare

 

Harare, once known as ‘The City of Flowering Trees,’ is today less aesthetically pleasing than it once was. Many trees are old and dying, or have been removed altogether.

The Harare Inner City Partnership joined Environment Africa, the City of Harare and several private stakeholders in launching the Harare Greening Project in 2010, with the aim of planting two million trees by the year 2015, to place Harare on the path to improved urban greening and forestry.

Trees are a critical component of the urban landscape. Not only do they help to reduce air and noise pollution, but they also provide shade, store carbon dioxide, provide an important habitat for birds and animals, and enhance human well-being by offering restorative and recreational opportunities to urban dwellers. Without trees and green spaces, urban settings would be dull, concrete environments.

Last year holes were dug and young trees planted in the central business district, but few have survived. Municipalities are faced with a multitude of constraints when providing basic service delivery, which makes it difficult to place environmental issues such as urban greening higher up on their development agendas.

There is a shortage of skilled personnel which leads to inappropriate species selection and planting, and inadequate maintenance. Where beautiful indigenous trees could be thriving one finds ageing exotics such as Jacaranda, Flamboyant and Eucalypts.

There is an urgent need for collaboration on the part of local municipal departments, private stakeholders and civilians alike where environmental issues are concerned. With future generations in mind, we need to realise how the mistakes we make now will impact our own lives and those of our children’s children. The first step toward success is a positive attitude.

Contact the Harare Greening Project on email: ptoriro@yahoo.co.uk

Read more about the region in our destination guide:
Harare

Read more from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 06, Sept 2011)