By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somaliland) – The Country is losing grazing and farming lands at a very fast rate due to the unchecked charcoal burning which is also exacerbating deforestation.
This was the unanimous agreement reached between the central government and residents of Darburuq district in Sahil region during a meeting chaired by the minister of Environment Ms Shukri Haji Bandare with the assistance of deputy interior minister in-charge of Security Mr Abdilahi Abokor.
Following complaints by area residents that they are losing their livelihoods thus increased numbers of new households joining the ranks of destitute as a result of illegal charcoal burning minister Bandare said the government shall issue environment protection guidelines as soon as drafts are approved.
On the information that the charcoal burning traders are not only destroying grazing and farming lands but establishing makeshift trading centres which are not under any authority thus a bastion of ill behaviours the environment minister informed that all illegal trading centres should be destroyed with immediate effect and construction ion of new ones banned.
“I hereby ask regional and district administrators nationwide to ensure that not only are the illegal trading centres erected in various rural areas are destroyed but to ensure that new ones are not erected” said Ms Bandare
While the government has on various occasions come up with strategies to ban the massive for commercial purposes charcoal burning rampant in most parts of the country this is the first time for the illegal trading centres to be targeted.
It is hoped that Ms Shukri Haji Bandare who assumed her duties as the environmental minister a month ago shall utilize her massive experience of environmental protection garnered during her lengthily tenure as head of Candlelight a local NGO that concentrates on environmental issues.
Charcoal burning has not always been preferred in Somaliland started a few years back as a result of the purported outbreak of of Rift Valley Fever in the Horn of Africa that forced Gulf States to suspend importation of animals or animal products from the region thus forcing herders to adapt charcoal burning as alternative sources of income.
While livestock exports have resumed urbanisation and a population explosion are the biggest threats to the country’s environmental well-being. Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa has a population of 850,000 people, six times its population in the 1970s, which consumes approximately 250 tonnes of charcoal daily.
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