The National Herbarium and Botanic Gardens of Malawi in conjunction with the Forestry Department and the police in Zomba, on Sunday confiscated a total of 70 bags of charcoal suspected to have been trafficked from Zomba Mountain Forest Reserve.
The bags were loaded in two trucks, one ofÃ‚Â which also had planks, wooden window frames, and door shutters suspected to have been made from protected indigenous trees from the mountain forest.
According to the scientific officer at National Herbarium and Botanic Gardens of Malawi Jamestone Kamwendo, the development is a result of intensive patrols his office and the Forestry Department are undertaking in the district to curb the malpractice.
Said Kamwendo in an interview on Monday: Ã¢â‚¬Å“We caught one vehicle at Katsonga Village on top of Zomba Mountain while the other one near Nankhunda Seminary on the western side of the mountain. These are the type of people who are contributing to deforestation and environmental degradation in the country.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He said the offenders will answer charges of illegal trafficking of forestry produce contrary to Section 68 (c) and 74 (f) of the Forestry Act.
He added that authorities have intensified patrols with the aim of restoring the forest biodiversity of Zomba Mountain, Malosa and Liwonde forest reserves.