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Billy C Sichone
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Billy C Sichone
Foreword by Paul M Simfukwe, MSc
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Pickering K Owen. An Introduction to global Environmental issues.
Storrs A. E. G. "Know your trees- some common trees found in Zambia
Lindahl K. Conservation for survival. 1972 Victor Collancz Ltd London.
IUCN/WWF/UNEP 1991: Caring for the Earth, a summary.
Copy right © 2000
Billy C Sichone
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored
in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic, digital, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,
without prior written permission of the copyright owner.
Exceptions apply for brief academic reviews and quotations purposes
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6. Context and over view
7. Justification of study
9. The root causes of desertification
10. The effects of desertification
11. Proposed strategies to avoid and minimise desertification
12. The way forward-2002 and beyond
16. Bibliography and references
18. About the Author
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LisT or AÞÞcNoiccs LisT or AÞÞcNoiccs LisT or AÞÞcNoiccs LisT or AÞÞcNoiccs
A. Chusa at the resettlement
B. The impact of Urbanisation on deforestation.
C. Oh Mother Earth!
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FOHEWOHD FOHEWOHD FOHEWOHD FOHEWOHD
Billy is an interesting fellow with wide interests, many times surprising people with
his rare writing skills on various issues. People of his calibre are few and far between.
In this write up, Billy once again rises to the occasion, effectively and competently
handles a pertinent issue of the times-desertification. As he rightly points out, climate
change and environmental degradation are intimately connected and cannot be
divorced. One precedes the other. Big global in scope and effect, the world needs to
desperately rise to the challenge of sustainable development and yet at the same time
preserving the Earth for posterity. Much passion is needed to effectively turn the
tables, as it were.
As a scientist, I take great delight in offering a word in season to support this most
Lets us learn from the works of this man, it could save the world!
Paul M Simfukwe, Msc, PhD student
University of Wales,
Bangor, UK 2008
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PHEFACE PHEFACE PHEFACE PHEFACE
Much has been said and resolved concerning the various environmental issues in the
last decade or so. Many conferences focusing on the state of the space ship Earth have
met in different localities of the world but non-more spectacular than the Rio de
Jenairo Earth summit of June 1992. Many nations came together, acknowledged the
universal problem and resolved to put their hands to the environmental crusade heifer.
It is ten years later but no tangible effect is seen of that momentous meeting. Perhaps
we are yet to see what lies in store.
This paper was written in response to one of the vices threatening human kind’s
comfortable stay on this terrestrial ball. Desertification has been encroaching on all
sides and greatly ravages the once productive land to a complete waste place. In
coming up with this document, I consulted a number of books as well as visited some
places to verify my assertions, as my bibliography will attest to.
It is hoped that this work will be a clarion call to the world to awake, having snored in
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DEDlCATlON DEDlCATlON DEDlCATlON DEDlCATlON
This work is dedicated to my ever supportive wife and daughter.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
My studies have really taken me places & opened up my mind greatly. As a result
they have caused me to meet countless numbers of people. As such, I would like to
offer thanks to them for all the help rendered as I pursued my goal in environmental
These thanks are not exhaustive but thanks and acknowledgements go to all those that
gave of their time to answer my questions, the books on the subject, as well as the
team at Barch Computers that toiled away happily to ensure this work came out in this
I would be unjust not to mention my wife Jane and daughter Zevyanji who have
continuously supported me in the “short time” I have known her. Hats off also go to
Mr & Mrs C Phiri as well as Mr & Mrs Simfukwe.
Thank you all!
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lNTHODUCTlON lNTHODUCTlON lNTHODUCTlON lNTHODUCTlON
The study of Environmental Management has suddenly taken the centre stage in
World affairs, including the Political Scenario! Unlike in the past when Politicians
would either ignore environmental issues or pay lip service to it, we have arrived at a
stage when no one can ignore the said issues and get away with it. For example, the
businessperson as well cannot ignore the environment because all the transactions
done on paper have a bearing on state of the environment. Thus, this paper seeks to
highlight one aspect of the multiple problems confronting the World –
The paper now in your hands upon which your eyes now look largely gives a general
over view. It deliberately refers to the Western Province of Zambia where the desert
conditions from the Kalahari are slowly but certainly creeping into Zambia and in the
not too distant future, the Zambian Map will probably be updated to include a new
feature – the desert!
As such, this paper is a general report on the conditions prevailing in different parts of
the World especially in the Western Province of Zambia where one cannot fail to
notice the large stretches of bare land intermittent with bushes. Otherwise, the vast
areas have sand where one needs a four-wheel drive vehicle to operate efficiently..
Relief organisations such as the World Vision International are forced to purchase
high performance 4x4 Vehicles that will blast through the deep sand. Year after year,
the sand volume cover increases while the vegetation decreases. Another aspect
noticed is the erratic rainfall as well as the propensity of the area to extreme weather
conditions. Let us brace our selves as we delve into this study that highlights the
imminent incipient danger that confronts us. Be that as it may, enjoy your trip through
Meet me at the end of the book!
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CONTEXT AND OVEH VlEW CONTEXT AND OVEH VlEW CONTEXT AND OVEH VlEW CONTEXT AND OVEH VlEW
Zambia lies in the sub equatorial region of Southern Africa and is largely covered by
Savannah type of vegetation though occasionally dotted with forests, either
indigenous or exotic. The vast area of the land progressively becomes grassy and less
“wooded” as we travel to the south of the Country.
The vegetation of Zambia can be safely divided into three categories as follows:
Firstly, we have the forest areas found largely in the north-western parts of the
country where most of the rain falls. Here, we find a high concentration of forests that
are almost evergreen although the truly evergreen trees are largely found in the
equatorial rain forests.
The second is the Savannah woodland that is found in a good part of the northern
and central part of the country. This consists of trees intermingled with grassland.
This kind of landscape is very familiar to many a Zambian.
The last category is the Savannah grassland that is found in the southern and western
parts of Zambia. This type of vegetation includes plains and Dambos too. We have
pockets of this kind of feature in the Barotse plains where one hardly finds a tree for
long stretches of land.
However, it is worth noting that the Western part of Zambia is a uniquely endowed
with a mixture of the various vegetation features. The area is very sandy and yet has a
fair amount of vegetation. Ironically, most of the country’s high class Mukwa
comes from this Province. This sandy terrain is an indicator of desert conditions
though intermingled and criss-crossed by many fresh water bodies such as the mighty
Zambezi River that slows down as it reaches the great Barotse plains. The said plain
boasts of its capacity to flood, breed fish, provide pasture and a potential to produce
cereals such as rice, able to feed the whole nation. But is this area likely to continue in
this state? Various studies have been undertaken to study and confirm the unique
Western Province weather. Those that have lived there will attest to its uniqueness &
propensity to have extreme weather conditions over a very short period of time.
As such, this study largely refers to the said Province, backed by some papers on an
over view of the impact of urbanisation on deforestation. This work is dealt with in a
number of sections, all answering different questions. The paper closes with a
conclusion fitting the subject. Let us hoist us our observatory telescope so that we can
peer into the distant future in relation to what we see now.
Check Page 179/80 of the book “Know your trees” A, E, G. Storrs (1995)
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lMPOHTANCE lMPOHTANCE lMPOHTANCE lMPOHTANCE OF THlS OF THlS OF THlS OF THlS STUDY STUDY STUDY STUDY
There is no better question than to ask why we should bother ourselves. Why spend
so much time, paper and ink to investigate and pour out our knowledge? The reason is
soon given. It is because of the nature and lack of knowledge about the subject in our
days. The time has come when we cannot afford to stifle our consciences and sit on
the pending holocaust that threatens the World. As I scan through literature and
interview people, the vast majority of them either do not bother themselves or just
simply do not think the subject merits a study. From the time I set foot on Western
Province soils four years ago and ever since, I have been strangely aware that I was
somewhat in a "desert condition" area. I wondered why this was so until I discovered
that actually, the Kalahari Desert was just next-door! This was a hair-raising
discovery because this signalled to me that the desert was either likely to spread to
Zambia or was already here! The advance and expansion of the desert is no light
matter because it threatens the future usefulness of any land stretch. Thus the
following reasons summarise the burden I have:
1. The subject is rarely talked about in our circles.
2. Whether we want, know or not, the Desert is coming
3. It is only prudent to see danger form afar and avoid it or
at least be proactive and thus minimise the impact.
4. There is only one Earth and Zambia and should we spoil
this chance of preserving it, we are done!
5. Posterity deserves a better lot as well. Already, human
kind has caused the extinction of some rare species of
flora and fauna. Let us not cause more problems lest our
children curse us many years hence.
6. That is the only way to plane the use and management
7. The World is asleep in the light and needs to be
awakened to reality lest it wakes up to a rude shock
when decadence will have reached its fullest degree.
These are some of the burning issues that drive me to consider this subject.
Let us give this issue the attention it deserves.
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DcriNiTioN or Tcnms DcriNiTioN or Tcnms DcriNiTioN or Tcnms DcriNiTioN or Tcnms
But before we proceed, we need to define terms so that we have the same terms of
reference. What is a desert? How does it begin and advance? Can it be stopped or
defeated in its advance? What are the common root causes? What is the way forward
regarding desertification? These are some of the questions that this paper attempts to
answer but we must first set the ground rules.
In beginning to define terms, it is very difficult to come up with one comprehensive
definition of a desert. But a simple definition would be “a desert is a place where
little or no rain falls or where the conditions are extreme inhabiting supporting life
. In this definition, it can be seen that a desert can either be hot or cold
depending on its locality. Usually, when one thinks of a desert, they think of the hot
deserts where there are large stretches of sand and where little or no rain falls for
prolonged periods of time. But it needs to be pointed out that the cold deserts also
exist such as the North and South Poles where the weather conditions are extremely
colder side practically inhibiting any forms life to exist except for those that have
adapted. For our purposes in this paper, we shall centre our thoughts on the hot
deserts. But from whence do desert hail? We attempt to answer this question in the
THc ÞossiaLc cAuscs or ocscnTiricATioN THc ÞossiaLc cAuscs or ocscnTiricATioN THc ÞossiaLc cAuscs or ocscnTiricATioN THc ÞossiaLc cAuscs or ocscnTiricATioN
a. What really causes desertification? The exact cause is not really known but some
theories have been advanced. We shall not attempt to open up all of them but seek to
scratch some of the prominent ones. One school of thought postulates that it the said
deserts were once thriving vegetated areas but as the climate began to change, the
plants died and were buried. Where these forests once stood now lies the deserts of
today. The proponents of this thought also claim that this "fact” accounts for the
presence of petroleum in the desert because the organic matter has decayed and turned
into oil. The other school of thought claims that the deserts came about because of
human activity. They claim that as the World Population begun to expand they
indiscriminately cut down trees to get fuel as well as build shelter. Initially, nomadic
practices left large stretches of land vulnerable to the various adverse environmental
factors and as such, with time the soil became exposed resulting in soil erosion and a
loosened soil structure. Before the vegetation regenerated, more settlers came and
cleared the land to the extent that vegetation stopped appearing. In addition to the
indiscriminate felling of trees, excessive grazing by animals aggravated the situation..
Further more, with the advent of the population explosion, farming practices and
technology, this led to more pressure on the land> Unfortunately, most the practices
were unsustainable. However, some people have rejected the theory because they hold
the opinion that people of the past intuitively knew how to live in harmony with
nature in a sustainable way. There could be other schools of thought but suffice it to
say that the changes in climate, farming practices as well as the changes in fuel/power
sources have a powerful effect on the development of deserts.
b. STcÞs To ocscnTiricATioN STcÞs To ocscnTiricATioN STcÞs To ocscnTiricATioN STcÞs To ocscnTiricATioN
As a hot desert develops, certain things take place as follows:
Definition supplied by Author
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Firstly, there will be either indiscriminate cutting or destruction of vegetation either
by human or natural agency. The usual human activities are related to development
(as shown earlier on) the need for power or simply the exploitation of wood
related human factors are the pollution by way of air, water or dust pollution that
ultimately finds its way into the water table or simply poisons the plants
. The natural
factors are issues such as earthquakes, flooding or excessive and prolonged drought
for a number of years.
Secondly, after the vegetative cover has been destroyed, there is little or no moisture
to ascend to the sky to form rain. This leads to shortages of rainfall and subsequently,
droughts. The weather pattern becomes erratic and later because extremely hot during
the day while remaining extremely cold in the night. Suddenly, there is an avalanche
of “heat waves” that come and ravage the area frequently. Thus, vegetation slowly
dies leaving no roots to hold the soil together, the absence of which Plants) leads to
flooding. The floods come about, as earlier intimated, due to sudden heavy rainfall
and runoff with no plants to absorb the water or slow down the water pace. An off
shoot connected to run off is the denudation, erosion and washing away of soil
nutrients leading to infertile soil. This infertility renders the soil incapable of
supporting plants. The effect is that the land becomes extremely dusty on account of
the loose soil leading to dust storms and blizzards (in cold deserts). Closely
connected to the aforementioned, there is rapid soil erosion that disfigures the terrain.
The land becomes denuded or with deep gullies where nothing grows. Lastly, the
dismembered soil structure will have no capacity to hold water thereby not able to
support the underground ecosystem. Desert soil is extremely fragmented, brittle, and
too hard to support any plant life, unless of course they have deep roots.
With the passage of time, in the fourth place, vegetation begins to shrivel, wither and
and meanwhile people & animals continue to exploit the little vegetation that
remains. As such, the vegetation is slowly wiped out.
Fifthly, the soil looses its texture, rich composition and becomes loose, as the plants
that hold the soil together are absent. In the fullness of time, flesh floods come and
periodically sweep the soil away unhindered to deposit the same at another place.
Another agent of erosion is the human and animal activities and movements that
destroy the soil structure. Furthermore, the winds blow tonnes of soil to other
Sixthly, having had prolonged drought, severe hunger no vegetation and extreme
weather conditions, people and animals largely retreat and leave the degenerated
ecosystem in the given area. Overtime, the once stable climates turns to the ever-
changing weather patterns becoming a permanent feature. Thus the desert conditions
and era will have arrived, firmly entrenched by the day.
It must be noted that all these changes, to the human eye are nigh invisible as they
take many years to notice. It must be remembered that the climate of a place has an
effect on the local prevailing weather conditions. It used to be generally held that it
takes a minimum of 35 years to determine the climate of a place though today, due to
Read my paper in the appendix on the impact of urbanisation on deforestation.
Refer to the book An introduction to global environmental issues pp 120
Refer to the book An introduction to global environmental issues pp 120
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all the rapid unsustainable egocentric practices of man
, the weather is extremely
erratic and changes almost over night. Some scientists claim that the tempering with
the Ozone (O
) layer through emissions of chlorides into the atmosphere has led to
some instability in the upper atmosphere, in some cases causing what are known as
Ozone holes. Ozone holes have been discovered at the South Pole and over Australia.
Now, Ozone is very critical for our survival because it not only shields people from
the lethal infrared /gamma radiation but it also plays a part in the rain cycle. As such,
the composition of gases and temperatures affect the hydrological cycle.
To wrap up this section, we can safely assert that the potential causes of
1. Poor land Management practices
2. Ownership and tenure of land
3. The advent of development as
infrastructure leading to concrete
4. Indiscriminate felling of large
stretches of land to make
ornaments as well as furniture.
5. Soil and air pollution.
6. Charcoal burning for fuel.
7. Bad agricultural practices.
8. Over grazing on same areas for
too long-as a result of having too
9. Natural disasters such as earth
quakes, floods, droughts and
other related acts of God.
But why do people, whilst knowing that their activities are harmful to the
environment continue to practice bad things? A straight answer is elusive but suffice it
to say that in a place like Western Province, people are consigned to perpetual poverty
thus far and cannot help but turn to what is freely available so as to survive. In other
words, the socio-economic pressures dictate. Thus, the only way they can
abandon this reckless practice is to empower them not only with knowledge but with
the tools to generate income from other viable ventures. The "tools" could be in terms
of capital or in kind. Remember that vegetation is beneficial for economic
development and all life forms are maintained by the presence of the same
poured out our souls trying to unveil the root causes of desertification, it is now fitting
for us to pass on the baton to the section that highlights the real effects of
desertification. I feel this will be show the necessity of our immediate intervention,
keep your belts fastened.
THc ErrccTs or DcscnTiricATioN THc ErrccTs or DcscnTiricATioN THc ErrccTs or DcscnTiricATioN THc ErrccTs or DcscnTiricATioN
"Man" is used in a generic sense. For the assertion on man's activities affecting climate, check pp19
of the book An introduction to global environ mental issues.
Check the UNEP and the RIO De Jenairo statements of 1992.
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Thus, we have seen the stage by stage progression of desertification, but what are the
effects of this selfsame development? Many answers clamour for attention in my
mind but a few merit our attention as follows:
The first effect is that there will be a lower crop yield in each successive year leading
to abject poverty, drought and hunger. Furthermore, there is simply no vegetation to
beautify the terrain.
Secondly, there will be a proliferation of diseases such as dust pneumonia and other
related illnesses. As a result of the loose soil, dust pollution will reign supreme and
will carry dirty particles as well as some microbes harmful to life. In some cases, the
plants will be covered with dust so that the y cannot carry out photosynthesis or
Thirdly, the area will be susceptible to flooding, as there will be no vegetation to stop
the water flowing down stream. The plants have a way of stopping fast running water
and absorb most of the moisture through the roots.
There could be other effects but I would like to say the following, at the risk of sound
repetitive that the reduction of the amount of moisture emitted to the air through
transpiration, the natural vegetation below begins to wither and die away leading to
desertification in the long run. For a long time now, people have ignored the
encroachment of desertification as a result of human induced weather pattern changes.
Perhaps the reason for this slothfulness has been the lack of publicity or slow but
certain advance of the desert. Looking at the Sahel
∈ ∈∈ ∈
region at the peripherals of the
Sahara desert in north Africa one can not fail to notice that places that were once
fertile and well watered areas are fast turning into ovens with little or no rainfall for
long stretches of land. The Western Province, as earlier intimated is a classic example
of an area being invaded by a desert, the Kalahari Desert as it makes its slow but
unstoppable expansion into the surrounding areas.
In a nutshell, the grave effects of desertification can be summed up as follows:
10. Soils erosion
12. Erratic rainfall and a distortion of
the weather pattern.
13. Drying up of sub terrain rivers
14. Lower crop yields and therefore
weakened food security.
15. Siltation leading to the death of
rivers as a result of the rising
river beds e.g. at the Kafue River
banks in some places.
16. Eco system disturbed
17. Landscape ravaged, denuded and
This Region is found on the peripherals of the Sahara Desert and has been a prime example of a fast
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18. Loss of valuable soil nutrients
and organisms due to flooding,
19. Reduction of species diversity.
20. Land slides
21. Few Medicine sources from
which to tap potential cure for
terminal diseases such as Cancer
Thus, I hope by now that we see the grave problem confronting us. I wonder, is there
any hope of respite? Can any thing be done to avert the imminent danger? The next
section ably deals with that self-same question by offering some tangible solutions.
Come with us as we search for answers…
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ocscnTiricATioN ocscnTiricATioN ocscnTiricATioN ocscnTiricATioN
Now that we have surveyed the effects, the question that now begs answering is “Is it
possible to avoid desertification, or indeed reduce it? Alternatively, we could further
ask whether it is possible to recover desertified land back to a useful landscape. The
answers to these questions are either “yes” or “No" depending on what is asked. With
regard to avoiding desertification, I think it is possible to minimize not completely
avoid it as long as anthropogenic activities & natural disasters continue to linger on
this terrestrial ball. There are however a number of pragmatic ways to minimize
onslaught of desertification.
The first and foremost way is to work within the frame work of nature and not bad to
degradation. Degradation occurs when certain parameters in the ecosystem are over
stretched by beyond their limits leading to a situation where things fall out of
proportion and ratio. This disturbance has been very evident and pronounced in the
last 250 years or so after the Industrial Revolutions of the 17 & 18 hundreds. At this
rate, unless curbed, mankind is heading towards destroying the World by the effluents
and waste poorly disposed off. As though that were not bad enough, man has gone
further to middle with other dangerous power using water means When there is an
accident, such as the one that occurred in 1996 at Chernobyl, thousands of tonnes of
lethal substances are ejected into the atmosphere after most of these have very long
half lives making that for many years hence, certain areas are declared unsafe. More
than that, humans, animals & plants are affected and develop tumours leading to
cancers as well as harbour deadly in their systems. As a result, the fumes, as well as
effluents either go into the atmosphere or other water bodies leading ultimately to the
formation of acid rain. The self-same acid rain falls and eats away plants thus
contributing to degradation. As to how this can be stopped, I suggest that sustainable
ways should be developed such as minimizing the use of organic fuels, nuclear fuel or
ecosystem. This entails limiting exploitation of resources and keeping within the
critical limits of each ecosystem. An sustainable practices have led to the wiping away
of entire valuable landscapes such as the Kankoyo area in Mufulira. In this area
(Kankoyo), no plant survives due to the acidic fumes poured out of the Mufulira
Mines. In the Western Province, where a lot of timber is grown & felled at Mulobezi,
the indiscriminate cutting practices are slowly leading to a bare landscape susceptible
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to all adverse atmospheric factors. If licensing and control were introduced, this
would curb and control the scandalous tree felling habits.
Yet another way to reduce the desertification process is to introduce revegetation
exercises so often. This entails careful planning of how to put back plants in areas
previously wooded but disturbed by other factors. Reforestation and afforestation
will work excellently in these areas though the introduction of new plant species must
be carefully handled lest a dangerously stubborn and destructive plant be introduced.
In as much as we applaud the tree planting exercise, it is critical to ensure that the
right plants are courted lest they begin to change the soil structure or poison the water
table was the case in the UK
. Pines were introduced but by and by they begun to
acidify the water bodies near by.
Another way to reduce desertification is to simply adopt various sectors of the desert,
set up camp and begin to plant orchards, all forms of vegetation and then irrigate
them. This has been done in some parts of the World such as the USA where vast
stretches of land are made fertile again and plants grow. This is a good practice but
extremely expensive whose sustainability is doubted. For instance, if the irrigation
efforts were stopped, would plants continue to survive. If this were sustainably
possible, then large tracts of land can be redeemed and used for useful activities. I
often wonder what sustains an Oasis, isn’t it possible to set up one area on an Oasis
principle? By simple definition, an Oasis is a place in the hot desert where water is
As earlier intimated, other potentially workable solutions exist but for now, methinks
these will suffice for our purposes. With respect to the advancement of the Kalahari
desert into Zambia, I would suggest the above solutions, though a poor nation like
Zambia would find it extremely trying to sustain large scale irrigation enterprises all
in the quest to halt the advance of desertification. Methinks the cost is far higher once
the land is lost at the grisly hands of desertification. At Mulobezi for example,
licences should be introduced and the quota system implemented or else, the
thoughtless felling of trees for selfish again will continue. It is rumoured that
truckloads of timber leave Zambia (Mulobezi) for South Africa and come back to
Zambia except this time as finished products that grace our homes. Many of us infact
proudly buy from "furniture from abroad"! As to whether desertification can be
reversed is still under much controversy and I dare not assert my firm opinion but all I
can say is that I privately suspect that desertification can be reversed to a certain
extent as long as the necessary cash resources are available sustainably.
In summary, the safety gadgets that we can employ to reduce the fast advance of the
desert is to do the following:
1. Reforestation campaigns and implementation must be stepped up. Encourage
people to allow the natural growth of vegetation to take root once again.
2. Afforestation Campaigns must equally be stepped up and promoted.
3. Strengthen the law and penalties for offenders regarding the stipulated statutes.
Many go Scot free especially in Zambia.
4. Increase the funding to the relevant arm of the Government that looks into the
protection and promotion of forests. Hitherto, funding has been very minimal, yea,
5. Encourage more NGOs to be equally interested in this area by giving them
incentives and challenges.
Check the Book An introduction to global environmental issues pp 118
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6. Declare more and more land as gazetted forest reserves. The trend now is to
degazette to meet the demand at the expense of future prosperity of the said land.
7. Minimize political interference especially where people want to redeem every
vote. In such times, ethics are thrown out of the window basically to gratify selfish
ends. For example, an area of 1, 967 hectors have been invaded by squatters along
the banks of the Kafue river
and no mere mortal dares move them because some
political hand fears losing votes. So the best that the forest pundits can do is to
bark and theorise. We must now fly to another part of the academic galaxy and
seek to peer into the future. What exactly is in store for posterity at this rate? The
next section seeks to of load my thoughts on this issue.
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We have thus far surveyed the subject of desertification with respect to its Genesis,
exodus and Revelation or zenith as well as the possible mitigational intervention
available, we now come to consider the way forward. What do we expect in the future
and how is this to be handled? Among the many things I expect is that desertification
will continue to encroach yea, even faster in this modern industrial world. Unless the
carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, Sulphur dioxide (SO2) and other pollutants are
curbed and watched, our lot lies in peculiarly dangerous times. I see an increase in
anthropogenic activities that will be difficult to control or reverse, for the exponential
population explosion exerts a high pressure on the extant resources so much that it is
impossible to back off now. The demand for new things is increasing world over
while the resources remain static. By October 6
1999 the World population scaled
the 6 billionth mark yet without any collaborating increase in facilities. Thus, we
shall see more trees destroyed, degradation scaled up as well as more indiscriminate
ways of doing things. Desertification is here to stay! Though there has been much talk
on the need to revert to sustainable practices, I fear not much sensitisation has been
done nor is there willingness to support the radical necessary changes. For example,
the USA, though well known for championing the Environmental Management
crusade, is likely to be last to append its signature for any radical changes that
threaten its industries. What should be done to halt desertification? The answer ties on
our laps. Let me hurtle along to give my recommendations at this juncture.
HccommcNoATioNs HccommcNoATioNs HccommcNoATioNs HccommcNoATioNs
We are now approaching the anticlimax of our trip to the top of the mountain. As we
descend, I would like to recommend the following for Western Province.
(i) There must be strict and proper licensing administered either by the royal
establishment or the central Government. The Royal establishment is
preferred because it is actually on the ground.
(ii) Introduce a bill in Parliament that each landowner must plant at least two
to three trees on their plot
(iii) Awareness days must be intensified in the area, including the people who
live in the forests as well.
(iv) Discourage the uprooting of plants especially in catchments areas. I notice
that in places like Sefula Musindi and the Kambule stream sources are
Check the Sunday Times of Zambia of 25
July 1999-"Kafue Forest reserves fall to squatters"
The Desertification advent
Billy C Sichone
being disturbed by anthropogenic activities. The streams that were once
perennial are now seasonal and the vegetation surrounding is dying.
(v) On a national level, there must be a declaration of war against
desertification, especially in Western Province.
(vi) Pasture and the clearing of land for farming purposes must be done in
harmony with the ecosystem hence encouraging sustainability in all areas
of human endeavour, as Dr Kaunda
used to say.
(vii) Attract more projects such as the one once run by IUCN but this time
directed at forestation. This should be community based and done in
collaboration with the natives.
(viii) Increase the irrigation projects that will water large stretches of land.
Incidentally, Western Province is endowed with many water resources that
can be utilized profitably to raise more forests.
(ix) There must be a deliberate effort to discourage charcoal burning and all
related practices that lead to deforestation.
(x) The critical loads of each area must be established and documented,
reviewed periodically to check for any changes.
It seems we have traversed the entire topography of desertification, what doth
hinder us from concluding? Let us mend or pace as we approach the finishing
In conclusion, what shall I say, having surveyed the landscape? We have learnt many
things. It now remains for me to say that desertification is a serious problem that
ought not to be taken lightly lest we perish or leave a time bomb for posterity. From
my perspective, our pace of response is extremely slow and alarming relative to the
rapid changes occurring around us. That not with standing, the battle can still be won,
If only we wake up soon!
Zambia's First Republican President-A very principled and disciplined man
The Desertification advent
Billy C Sichone
GLossAnY GLossAnY GLossAnY GLossAnY
0. Afforestation- Deliberate replanting of trees whether exotic or not
1. Anthropogenic- Human activity
2. Desert – A place (hot or cold) that experiences extreme weather conditions
and does not support normal life.
3. Desertification – Spread of desert like conditions in cold or semi – cold lands,
as a result of climatic change or human influence
4. Deforestation – Conversion of forestland to other uses, for example, pasture,
5. Reforestation – Allowing natural vegetation to regenerate freely and cover
the landscape once again.
6. Perennial – Flowing through out the year e.g. a river
7. Pollution – The process of introducing foreign substances or parameters into
an ecosystem leading to degradation.
8. Radioactivity – Process of emitting sub atomic particles and energy.
9. Radiation – Transmission of electromagnet energy from a body to its
10. Ecosystem – A community with interacting organisms of different species,
and other related species and their relationship s with the associated chemical
& physical systems.
11. Transpiration – The loss of water vapour from the cells of plants
12. Photosynthesis – The biological process in which plants convert Co
to carbohydrates & release O
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 21
AÞÞcNoiccs AÞÞcNoiccs AÞÞcNoiccs AÞÞcNoiccs
(These appendices contain papers written by Billy Sichone privately)
A. The impact of urbanisation on deforestation
B. Chusa at the Resettlement
C. Oh mother Earth!
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 22
AÞÞcNoix AÞÞcNoix AÞÞcNoix AÞÞcNoix A
The impact of urbanisation on Deforestation
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 23
Urbanisation has always had a very big though unnoticed impact on deforestation in many and varied
Urbanisation, which consists of people living in communities or towns that have permanent structures,
own electricity and water supplies, has been a way of living that has just been adopted by many sectors
of mankind. This mode of living being attractive and comfortable has caused people from rural areas to
migrate to these towns or urban centres hoping to have better standards of living.
Initially, these urban areas begin as small settlements with only small populations that can be supported
sustain ably and efficiently by the few local resources. These settlements are planned and built on places
specially selected. Forests naturally occupy the selected areas but in the effort to locate space for the
construction of houses, these forests are cleared. The initial small populations grow as time passes
because the families grow larger while, more settlers come too. Hence, more power and fuel resources
are needed. The trees and forests surrounding these towns are cut down quickly so that the demand for
fuel is met. Gradually, tarred roads are built, concrete platforms and many more factories are built. As
more of these are made, this means more forests are destroyed and at the same time the cleared forests
cannot grow again because of these permanent structures covering the land. Only few scattered trees are
seen in their towns this being especially evident in fairly well developed towns like Lusaka.
Once these towns grow large, the social needs are greater too. These large towns all depend on the
limited power resources which are from the few hydroelectric stations, petroleum and coal. These
means of power are not sufficient to meet the enormous demand and therefore necessitating other means
of power to be sought. In our society however, most of the fuel is got from charcoal. The populations
especially in areas where electricity has not been installed depend on this fuel for cooking, warming and
lighting the homes. Since the demand for order to meet the demand charcoal is high, the charcoal
burners are forced to cut down more trees of the forests in order to meet the demand. This
indiscriminate cutting down of trees leads to deforestation. Since most of these charcoal burners are
ignorant of the devastating effects there of, they care little and only look forward to get money so as to
Unlike the Chitemene system, which allows for the cut down trees to be burnt on the same area and the
ashes spread over the cleared land, this indiscriminate cutting down of trees for charcoal does not allow.
Hence the land loses the nutrients that are not replaced.
The other way in which these large urban populations affect deforestation is the way the towns are
planned. You find that these areas do not allow for many trees to grow in one place because the land is
occupied by the people who settle there, build houses and factories. With the coming of the Western
civilization to Zambia, every good home deserves to have good furniture. Tables, chairs, dressing tables
are necessities in many homes. Along considering that every one has to have at lest some furniture in
their homes means more timber trees cut down for the furniture industry in order to supply all these
goods. There are other uses of wood such as in the building of houses.
Urbanisation may cause vegetation to come to a halt. As more forests are cleared for town space,
factories are built to support the local needs of the town. Ninety percent of the chances, these factories
emit dangerous gases or poisonous waste materials which pollute the atmosphere and the forests, thus
forests are healthy. As forests die out, no water vapour from the leaves of the plants in the process
known as transpiration takes place. The end result is that no moisture is available to form clouds so that
rain can fall.
The few trees in urban areas shed their leaves but unfortunately, these leaves are not allowed to rot.
They are cleared off by the local councils and thrown elsewhere.
Similarly, concrete jungles in town where most of the land is either covered by concrete or tar the leaves
may rot, but cannot get to the soil. In both these cases, the soil is not enriched in any way.
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 24
Unless more hydroelectric power is developed or other power sources, the forests around the town will
continue to be destroyed by the random tree cutting charcoal burners whose only livelihood lies in
selling of charcoal. Most of these people are neither knowledgeable of the devastating effects nor would
they be willing to change if only told. They must be convinced of the damage so that constructive
changes can take place. Major changes can be done by the Government through building more power
resources in the future. Then the impact of urbanisation on deforestation will be less destructive.
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 25
AÞÞcNoix Ð AÞÞcNoix Ð AÞÞcNoix Ð AÞÞcNoix Ð
Chusa at the Resettlement
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 26
CHUSA AT THE RESETTLEMENT
Free at last!
The day which Chusa had been waiting for finally arrived. Chusa was a young boy aged sixteen. He
left school in grade eight because he hated school. His parents and brothers bothered him because he
was loafing at home. The family lived in Kinshasa, the capital city of Congo. Congo is in equatorial
Africa, north of Zambia.
Chusa was very excited about this day. He was going to leave home and live alone at last! No one was
going to bully him anymore. This thought pleased him very much. The Government had announced that
farming land was to be given to all the unemployed and volunteering youths to settle in one of the
forests. The forest was located about a hundred kilometres east of Kinshasa. Chusa had registered his
name. Many youths had registered too. Most of these youths came from shanty compounds near
Kinshasa. A few of the youths appeared younger than himself. The rest were older and probably
married. Chusa was nervous because he did not know anymore among all these people. He felt lonely.
This meant that he was going to have to make new friends. As Chusa waited patiently for the buses to
transport them to forest, he kept wondering what type of training they were to undergo. The training
was to be done before they would actually begin farming. As he was deep in thought, the whole crowd
of youths suddenly rose up. They rushed to the main gate of the civic centre. Many whistled excitedly
and ran while carrying their heavy luggage. “Yagwa ma basi” meaning “the buses have come”, many of
them shouted as they sprinted. The big green buses had arrived! Chusa quickly grabbed his bag and ran
too. He wanted to be nearer to the door when the first bus arrived, but many older boys were there
There was confusion and noise. Everyone was trying to be the first to get into the buses. An army
officer ordered them to them to form queues as he shouted “Follow up – Follow!” He whipped anyone
who did not obey. Chusa was nearly whipped but he quickly squeezed himself in between two boys. He
got in the queue and sighed, “Phew! That was close. Napusuka Mwee!” Then he thanked the two men
who had helped him. They stood on the queue for a long time before they got into the buses. Over five
thousand young people had volunteered to resettle. Everyone was eager to get on the first trip.
Chusa got a seat near a window, he sat next to the two men who had helped him. Everybody was talking
excitedly. But Chusa was quiet because he did not know anyone. Instead, he daydreamed about his new
life that lay ahead. Away from those troublesome parents, brothers and sisters, Ah! Chusa felt good &
liberated as he thought. At about fifteen hours, the buses began to move. The young people whistled
loudly, shouted and waved at their relatives and friends. “Tagwamo!” – “we are gone!” they all shouted.
In each bus, a song was jubilantly sung. As the convoy of buses drove past the important points in town,
the pedestrians’ attention was drawn to the buses. They wondered at the happy youths.
Chusa was disturbed from his Day – Dreaming when the gentleman next to him asked: "Boyi, What’s
ya’ name?” “My name is Chusa Chilongo”, answered Chusa nervously. “My name is Kazumba Kango,
and I perch in Chawama Compound”. The man answered when asked. The other man’s name was
Nzobolo Kakwe. He lived in Chawama too. By that time, the excitement in the bus had quite died
down. Many people Day-Dreamed about the new life ahead.
Chusa and his new friends soon begun talking about what awaited them they wondered how long they
would train, Were they going to find their houses already built? These were some of the questions they
tried to Discuss. They were all young and ambitious. They felt like brave men on an adventure to an
unknown land. Since no one had been to the forest, they felt like heroes.
When the convoy reached Kazumira, it turned left into the forest! They had driven for forty minutes
along the Great East road. Chusa was now wide awake. He begun to imagine those T.V shows about the
jungle. He had watched ‘Tarzan’ on T.V and wished he could meet him here. The forest had tall
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 27
trees exactly like those Chusa saw on T.V. The bus convoy moved on for another thirty minutes deep
into the bush. As they travelled, they saw more trees and less grass. The vegetation was fresh and green.
It rained daily in the forests. “There is an Impala!” exclaimed some body within the bus. Every eye
turned to the right and had a glimpse of the beautiful brown animal. As it ran away from the noisy bus.
The convoy finally stopped. At first, nobody attempted to get off the buses. Everyone thought they had
not yet arrived. “We 'ave arrive’! Tafika!.. get off now!!” announced a serious looking army officer.
Chusa and his friends looked at each other and grinned puzzledly. They got off the bus hesitantly. After
everyone had got off the buses, they assembled and sat on the grass. The natural grass was disturbed for
the first time. The forest was totally strange and quiet. Only birds’ songs and wild animal sounds were
By that time, the sun was setting in the west. Its rays were obstructed by the tall trees. “This is where we
begin! To night we ‘re gonna sleep here! All the men must collect “nkuni” for the camp fire Ta’ scare
off the will beasts, ok?” “Yes Sir!” the men replied.
The first night was chilly and uncomfortable. No one slept well. Some people wished they had not
volunteered to resettle at all. Others were still determined to settle. Chusa missed the comforts of home.
He tried to catch some sleep but mosquitoes and other wild insects kept disturbed him. They buzzed
around his ears. Some of them stung him… How uncomfortable he felt!
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 28
CHUSA AT THE RESETTLEMENT
A whistle blew at dawn the next morning. It was still dark but all the settlers had to get up immediately.
It was time for the morning Jog. Chusa felt as though he had just closed his eyes when the whistle
blazed through his eardrums. He threw off his blankets put on his shorts & off he went. A number of
lazy men and women remained in their beds. They were whipped and kicked out of their beds.
Kazumba had already woken up when the whistle blew. He was already on the jogging group. After
nearly all the settlers had joined the group, they set off. They were led by a tough looking sports
instructor. He was an army officer. No one was allowed to stop or rest. Though many grew tired, they
had to continue running or risked getting lost. Some jogged at a snail’s pace. Chusa had been a good
athlete whilst at school. But this was his first time to jog such a long distance after a number of years.
They passed through thickets, thorns, buses, rough rugged terrain and tall grass. They did not stop until
everyone was exhausted. Only then did they jog back to the campsite. On arrival back, the register was
called. Those who arrived late were mistreated by the rough sports masters. Chusa had barely made it.
He was so exhausted that he was almost walking when he arrived!
Breakfast was next. The food they ate did not please Chusa. It was “ YUK!” or disgusting to him. It
appeared as though it had been prepared many days before. It was like “ Chimbala” – over-stayed food.
Since there wasn’t any other food, ha had to eat. How he longed for home!
Breakfast time was only twenty-five minutes long each day. After that, they were instructed to start
cutting trees, clearing the campsite area. They were going to start building their own huts. All this was
totally new to Chusa. “ let’s cut this tree Chusa”, said Chusa’s friend. Nzobolo was tall and well built.
He could easily do most of the work. “I’ll chop first”, he offered, “ while you watch”. He begun
chopping the tree trunk. Nzobolo exerted all his energy. Chusa sat at some distance and watched
patiently. While Nzobolo was busy working, Chusa suddenly noticed something black slidding slowly
down one of the branches. The black object was directly above nzobolo’s head. It was a snake! And it
was about to strike him! Chusa tried to quickly think of how to rescue Nzobolo. If he screamed Nzobolo
would panic and be bitten. But before Chusa could do anything, the viper attached Nzobolo. He fell to
the ground and lay still…the snake slithered away quickly into the tall gracss. “ njoka! Njoka!, help!
Help! Screamed Chusa as he ran towards his friend. Nzobolo lay still where Chusa quickly bent over
and turned his motionless friend. Just then nzobolo openend his eyes. By that time, all the settlers
working nearby had crowded around. “Wha’ happened,?” asked the young man as he sat up he appeared
like one who had been disturbed from sleep “ are you hurt?” asked Chusa anxiously. “Don’t be funny
man, why did ya’ hit me with that thing?” Chusa explained what had happened. They quickly examined
him but to their surprise, they found no snakebite. But from were did the trail of blood originate? It led
in the direction the snake had gone. Chusa was certain that his friend had been bitten. The onlookers
soon returned to their work one by one. Two or three men followed the blood trail carefully. It was
discovered later that the snake had struck into the axe head when Nzobolo had lifted it. The serpent had
misjudged and injured itself. It later died because of the injury.
The boys were ordered to continue working. If they did not complete building their huts, they would
sleep in the open.
By night fall that day, most of the huts had been erected. However, Chusa’s hut was not complete too.
The settlers had their supper and sat around the huge campfire. They sung songs triumphantly until late
in the night. Only then they allowed to go to bed. Oh! How exhausted the campers felt!
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 29
PONGO PONGO RIVER
At dawn the next morning, the whistle blew as usual, every settler rose up and attended the morning
jog. The routine continued in the same way until all the huts in the camp were built. The following
week, the camp commander took them around the forest area around the camp. They were shown the
small stream that flowed from north to south. They named it Pongo Pongo River. They also saw a lot of
strange animals, insects and birds. The settlers had never seen most of those animals before. No people
seemed to have been living in that part of the forest. The settlers had expected to meet the pygmies. The
pygmies are short, dark people who live in the rain forests of Zaire. They are hunters who use primitive
weapons. These pygmies do not farm because the forests are hot, wet and humid. Many green plants
grow there. Instead, they collect wild fruit and hunt. They returned to the camp where there were many
duties to be attended to. During the five months’ military training, the settlers were taught how to use
guns, trap animals and to burn charcoal for fuel. Neither Chusa nor his friends ever left the camp to go
to Kinshasa because they were forbidden. Some of their friends had tried to sneak out but they were
discovered and disciplined.
The settlers swam and washed their clothes in the stream, they collected wild fruit too. By the end of the
five months, all the settlers were darker in complexion.
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 30
CHUSA AT THE RESETTLEMENT
LOST IN THE FOREST!
One morning when the training was over, Chusa and Kazumba went picking and collecting wild fruit.
After collecting enough, they went to relax at the stream. They left their fruit near the trees while they
fished. They only caught two small fish that they cooked. Now, when they turned to collect the fruit,
they spotted a group of monkeys suddenly swing away. The monkeys stole all the fruit. Since the boys
were late and hungry, they decided to use an unfamiliar path in order to arrive in time for supper. After
walking for along time, they realised that they had lost their way and they had no idea where they were!
It was dangerous to walk back to the stream because dangerous carnivorous wild animals were likely to
be there. They set up a fire and tried to warm themselves. Some time later in the night, Chusa was
gathering some firewood nearby. In the darkness, among the thickets, he noticed a pair of sparkling
eyes, then he saw a dark outline figure in the darkness. It was an animal that had crept near them. He
recognised it as a lion or a tiger! He ran to the fire place with the firewood. Kazumba too a large fire
brand and threw it at the animal. He shouted loudly until the beast scampered off. The firebrand fell on
dry grass in no time, a fire broke out which burnt many trees and grass. Some animals were killed too.
The boys watched helplessly while /the blaze destroyed all these things. The fire finally died down at
Dawn. When they traced their way back to the camp that morning, they found some bulldozers had been
brought in camp. The campers were frenzied with joy about something. “What’s up?” Chusa enquired
They were told that farming was to begin the following day. “Mailo ti joba Mani” – tomorrow we will
start working many reported excitedly to Kazumba and Chusa.
The days that followed were full of activity. Land was divided into plots and then some farms were half
cleared of their trees. The farms of the three friends were all cleared half way. The settlers were given
six hectors each but only three were cleared freely for them. They were supplied with free farming
tools, fertilizers and seeds. In those days, the rains were not yet heavy but only light daily showers. This
made the work of the bull dozer difficult because the ground was soft and wet. Many animals were
disturbed, poisonous snakes were killed, and a lot of trees were cut down. The portions where this mass
clearing was done, were more open to the sunlight and the wind. The heavy rainy season was soon to
In the Congo, the rain falls through out the year but at certain period of the year, the intensity of the
rains is higher. Chusa and his friends were taught that rice was the best crop to grow in the climate.
They planted rice and a bit of Maize.
For the first few years, the harvests were good. But each successive year, the harvests dwindled. The
rice could not grow well because the rainfall reduced every season. The government stopped supplying
free food to the settlers and as a result, the three young men started cutting down trees on their farms, so
as to raise money for survival. They wanted to fertilize their plots by burning trees. They had learnt
about Chitemene system. Chitemene system is based on the ‘slash and burn’ principle practiced by
many practiced by many primitive Africans.
When this failed three years later, Chusa and friends resorted to indiscriminate cutting down off more
trees. They began making charcoal. Charcoal is a fuel made out of firewood. Every week, they used to
carry a bag to Kazumira for sale. After selling, they bought all the essentials and necessities.
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 31
At first, they cut down all the trees on Kazumba’s farm. Then they moved to Chusa’s Plot. Lastly, they
finished all the trees on Nzobolo’s farm. By then, the people from Kazumira were coming with their
trucks to the camp to order charcoal. The settlers sold a lot of charcoal and earned a lot of cash too. In a
short time, All the trees surrounding the settlement were completely cut down.
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 32
CHUSA AT THE RESETTLEMENT
CHAINDA FOREST RESERVE
One day, the three young men were so broke that they decided to cut trees in a forest reserve.
“Mwana, Bati we’are broke mwee!, let’s go to Chainda tonight”, suggested Chusa that day. “What for,?
Ta’ Do what”? Asked Kazumba. “Ta’ get nkuni!.. “Oh! That’s a forbidden area man!.. “Oh yeah! I ‘ll
go there alone if you won’t come”. Answered Chusa rudely. “Ok, Ok, man you win.” That night, the
three men set off at dusk carrying two axes, a torch and a rope. Chusa bravely led the way. It was a clear
evening sky with the stars glittering brightly. After working for two hours, the men stopped somewhere
in the middle of the forest. “Nzobolo check if anyone’s spyin’ on us” whispered Chusa. The forest was
guarded against any charcoal burners. Since no one was watching, they set up a fire and got busy. They
worked quietly and quickly because they had to finish the work before dawn.
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 33
DISCOVERED!.. TROUBLE IN THE FOREST.
Shortly after midnight, they piled up the logs and begun covering them with mud. When they had
covered almost half way, they heard some noises nearby. They quickly took cover in the thickets and
remained hidden for some twenty minutes. Kazumba was the first to venture out and was about to
continue working when he heard somebody yell, “stop where you are!!”. It was the forest rangers! They
had been discovered! Kazumba attempted to escape but he was shot in the right leg. He crashed to the
ground in great pain. Chusa and Nzobolo ran in opposite directions. Chusa switched off the torch and
ran as fast as his feet could carry him. The Rangers pursued him until he lost them as he hid in a thicket
the guards zoomed past him. After hiding for sometime, he was sure they had gone. It was still dark and
dangerous but he had to move on or else he would be arrested during daylight. He switched the torch on
and move on carefully thought the thickets. Before he climbed over the fence of the forest edge, he
stood and observed that no one was near. He jumped over and ran across the deforestated areas. Having
escaped, he dared not return to the camp. At dawn he arrived at Kazumira where he got on the first bus
to Kinshasa. Everyone in the streets of Kinshasa wondered why he was shabbily dressed. This was the
first time he returned home to his parents. Chusa never went back to the camp. Instead, he begun
working as a house servant in the city. Nzobolo had managed to escape too. He went to live in a
different compound called Matero. He found a job as a labourer for the city council. But Kazumba was
arrested and jailed for three years. He was charged with destroying trees illegally.
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 34
Trees are important to stop soil erosion and for rainfall. If more trees are cut down, There will be fewer
trees to use the carbon dioxide (CO2) for photosynthesis. This will mean that there will be less oxygen
(O2) in the air, less transpiration and the earth will become unhealthy for life. Many trees are and
continue to be cut down each day. This rapid destruction of trees explains why we have soil erosion,
less rain and why the weather is changing fast. Therefore, the forests must be protected. Make sure that
you plant two trees for every one that you cut. Will you destroy trees like those three friends?
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 35
AÞÞcNoix C AÞÞcNoix C AÞÞcNoix C AÞÞcNoix C
Oh Mother Earth!
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 36
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 37
1. “Once there was a valley of fertile land. There was grass for the animals and air was clean. But
sometime later man wanted wood, he thoughtlessly cut down all the trees and because of this no people
could live, the climate also changed.
This was the second reason men could not live. They became poor. So this beautiful valley became
a deserted place.”
- USAMA AZHAR, PAKISTAN.( 10 YEAR OLD )
2. “Man has lost his ability to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth”
(MISSIONARY AND PHILOSOPHER)
3. “Twenty percent of the earth is very cold,
Twenty percent is mountainous. Of the remaining forty percent,
about two percent has very little soil and rainfall. And man kind is busy destroying the rest.”
- DONALD PHIRI (ZAMBIAN SCHOOL BOY)
4. “In those days, the annual supply of rainfall was not lost, as it is now, though being allowed to flow
over treeless and denuded surface to the sea.”
- PLATO, 347 BC
5. “In the distant past, forest and nature surrounded (besieged) man but today the opposite is true, man
is covered by a concrete jungle.”
- BILLY SICHONE, 1993
6. “In ages past, man was struggling to cut and get out of the forest. But now he is busy planting and
getting back into the forest.”
- BILLY SICHONE, 1993
7. “It is an open secret that today, there is heavy pollution which if unregulated will lead to total
destruction of this planet which man has sought to develop. The posterity deserves and has as much
right to a glimpse at the live, free range natural animals and not merely fossilized photos.”
-BILLY SICHONE, 1993
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 38
This is a humble effort to try and help spread the awareness of the indiscriminate and extravagant
consumption of natural resources. This ignorant is especially true in developing countries, which are
busy trying to develop. The developed world on the other hand, is facing serious environmental
problems having realized that the natural resources are not inexhaustible and that the planet itself is at
the verge of being totally vanquished and may not be habitable in the near future. The battle zone
therefore is not limited to the developed world. It is a fight that must be fought jointly from all angles of
the globe. Though over 60% of the pollution is from the developed world
, this fight affects all without
exception. It is never to be forgotten that ozone layer knows no political boundaries.
The scope of this book is scanty, covering the whole problem of pollution and the ozone layer depletion.
It is aimed at the reader who casts a casual thought about the environmental problems confronting us
today. It is hoped that some reader will be spurred on to champion the cause of environmental
protection. We long for the time like that in king Solomon’s when they could import and export animals
and timber without restrictions (1 kings 10:22-Bible). The reason is probably that everything was in
abundance and the demand was low. The ecosystem was probably in equilibrium then than now. Let us
battle for a regeneration of such a time. It can be achieved, though remote to the human eye now!
BILLY C SICHONE
From the Rio Earth summit comments, 1992
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 39
´! '´¯!!! !.!¯!
. .. . little over five hundred years ago, the world was generally silent and activity was centred only in the
scattered isolated settlements on the surface of the giant spaceship- EARTH. As the planet soared
majestically through the solar system, organic activity continued normally and unabated. Christopher
Columbus or Vasco Da Gama had not set out on their adventurous voyages. Marco-polo had not yet hit
the road on foot to the east.
One fourth of the earth then lay like a huge forest, and nobody knew that it was zooming on in its never
ending race round the sun.
Then a time was when the great adventures begun. After sometime, “dark continent” was discovered.
The forests on this continent were almost bordering the edges or shores of the sea. That Dark Continent
was undoubtedly VIRGIN AFRICA. The natural vegetational status of this continent was undisturbed in
any way. As this was the case, all kinds of wild animals peacefully roamed about safely. The sound of
the gun was neither known nor heard of. The diverse species of animals were either carnivorous or
herbivorous. How lovely the world must have been! With its bio-diverse structure un tempered with, the
primitive uncivilized people were insignificantly few and their consumption rate of resources unnoticed.
It was insignificant as scratching one’s name on the pyramids of Egypt. Oh! How refreshing the
morning and the evening air must have been! Birds chirped sweetly and melodiously, further, fresh
water continuously plunged over cliffs and flowed naturally. No artificial barriers, like dams, to
destabilize the local ecosystem!
But then, as pollution begun to swell, larger stretches of forests were felled for fuel and more game was
hunted for meat. As people begun to settle in lager communities, they cleared off trees so as to facilitate
space for building villages and settlements. Naturally, hunting expeditions were appointed to kill game
so as to feed the booming populations. Meanwhile, the explorers were making headway into the heart of
Africa. When contact and communication was established, they influenced the natives to adopt there
relatively well refined living standards. In no time, more land was cleared to make way for roads and
the planned railway line from “Cape to Cairo “ a dream that never was, were underway. Untold amount
of diverse flora and fauna was lost forever in process. We shall never be able to estimate exactly how
much. Improved farming methods were inculcated into the locals and in the end, they were irresistibly
converted because of the bumper harvests they reaped. Never did the question arise as to the damage,
which was being done to the pilot less space craft…
Over the years, industrialization has spread its tentacles to all corners of the globe and the benefits are
But is it all “a bed of roses” with industrialization? I assert with an emphatic “no” why? Well, the
cosmic voyager us now in grave danger of pressing a SELF- DESTRUCTION BUTTON. There are
higher levels of toxic gases and alarming temperature raises within the craft. Where is the problem?
Who is causing this? The answer is simple. It is the chief architect him self- MAN
! , the obvious
culprit! The engineers of the space ship Earth reliably inform us that the vessel walls are extensively
damaged and have some holes at some points
. This is serious! It ought to cause any one board to sweat
and tremble with fear because of the consequences and implications. What is the actual problem? Can
anything be done?
“Man” used in a generic sense to mean both male and female human species.
The Awake magazine of 1996 reports that the huge ozone holes are more frequent over the south and North poles. The
continent worst affected is Australia.
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 40
The Ozone Layer, has been severely damaged in certain areas. It is reported that the same is becoming
thinner everyday and infact LARGE HOLES in the layer have been spotted at some points! “So what?
Why bother?” I hear some of you say. Well, this means that we are not shielded from the fatal and
dangerous gamma rays which cause terminal diseases such as skin cancer. In short, we are exposed!
The reported incidences of skin cancer have risen sharply especially in the heavily industrialized
nations. The ozone layer functions as a SIFT to stop or minimize GAMMA RAYS from entering the
atmosphere. But alas! These deadly rays now have free course in the absence of the ozone layer. All
organisms are equally vulnerably exposed to these hazardous rays. The LIGHT SKINNED people are
most at risk because they have little MELANIN in the skins for protection.
For another thing, the “GREEN HOUSE EFFECT” of temperature rise is taking place each moment as
deposits of CARBON DIOXIDE accumulate in the atmosphere. This threatens to upset the air GAS
RATIO EQUILIBRUM in the atmosphere and the danger of the POLAR CAPS MELTING IS
. Should this happen, the entire earth surface would be submerged or flooded like in
biblical times (Genesis 6) – what horrifying prospects confront us!
We do not have enough time or space to talk about the toxic fumes emitted by the industries, vehicles,
and smokers. These emit dangerous gases such as Sulphur dioxide which react with the ozone (03) in
the presence of light to break down the layer. (Vehicles emit lead into the atmosphere which is equally
hazardous to humans) at the present rate, by the year “2030, the earth’s temperature will have risen by
between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius.”
I trust we have seen our dire straits by now. Time is fast ebbing away! Even the time you have spent
reading this information, the temperature of the atmosphere may have risen by a millionth or thousandth
of a Celsius degree! Awake! Awake! And do something!
No doubt, if the great ancient explorers and scientists of yesterday were to arise from their graves, they
could collapse back into their caskets because they would be too grief stricken at the egocentric poor
stewardship of the earth man has thus far exhibited! What careless and destructive patrons we have
The destruction already done is undoubtedly great. But the important thing is that we know the root
cause and some possible solutions. Were we ignorant until now, the damage could probably have been
irreparably great but thank God that it is not too late yet! --as long as we act now and promptly so.
Therefore, quit your armchair criticism and act now!! It is high time to awake for THE TIME IS
Recent indications are that this is already taking place hence contributing to the rising ocean tides
A number of quotes in this write up are from the WWF reports booklet # 6, May 1991 issue from
pages 15, 19, 21, and 23. Other quotes are from a book called “Tropical Forests” by Jacqueline Sawyer
on page 28. Global warming will probably affect weather patterns enormously”-Sawyer. Note that
ozone layer forms when NITROGEN OXIDES IN PRESENCE OF SUN LIGHT, combines with
HYDROCARBONS(emitted mostly by Motor vehicles and oil refineries)
NO+HC= = = >03+HN
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 41
1. WWF reports No 6, MAY 1991 ISSUE from pages 15, 19, 21 and 23
2. Sawyer Jacqueline, “TROPICAL FORESTS” pp 28.
AcAocmic AcAocmic AcAocmic AcAocmic PAÞcns PAÞcns PAÞcns PAÞcns/AnTicLcs /AnTicLcs /AnTicLcs /AnTicLcs oN PoLLuTioN oN PoLLuTioN oN PoLLuTioN oN PoLLuTioN & & & &
cNvinoNmcNTAL issucs cNvinoNmcNTAL issucs cNvinoNmcNTAL issucs cNvinoNmcNTAL issucs
PAÞcn 1 PAÞcn 1 PAÞcn 1 PAÞcn 1
“NIMBY!”-“ Not in my back yard!” is now a common word to express just the degree of averseness
people have towards all forms of pollution, especially that which poses a severe health hazard. People
no longer want to live ,work or visit a place near to a dumping site, Nuclear power plant or any toxic
waste emitting industry. This aversion has been on the increase from the middle of last century… but
why the sudden “noise”? Why are people bothered by pollution? Is it harmful? If so, what are some of
the effects and remedies of pollution? These are some of the questions & answers the article
“Hazardous waste” from the March 1985 issue of the National Geographic addresses.
As one turn to the article, a person clad in protective clothing while holding forth thick sticky oily stuff
on a pole is seen. The picture is so graphic that one needs not read the story. The picture tells it all.
Pollution has been a thorny issue for some time now. Being mindful that the word “Pollution” is a
general term and there are various types such as Air, Water, soil, dust and noise pollution. We seek to
define it as such and then draw our boundaries. Pollution basically is the introduction of certain
parameters into the environment which cause an imbalance in the ecosystem, as a result of dumping
waste in certain localities which situation leads to an environment being hostile to various eco-players
such as humans, animals and vegetation. For our purposes, we confine our selves to water pollution. In
talking about water pollution, we must go further to state that we are dealing with fresh ground water .
As earlier intimated, the article takes 34 pages to cover this pollution as found in the Michigan State-
USA. In the said State, like any other, pollution has reached cripplingly dangerous levels. Reading the
article, one cannot help agreeing with people who yell “NIMBY!” because of the devastating effects of
It is clear that this problem is a global one but is more serious in some places than others. The long
industrialised countries like the USA are worst hit. On the one hand, the industrial machinery is
churning out an unprecedented high quality and quantities of products, while on the other, the by-
products cannot be easily disposed off! Slowly, the world has been storing up trouble, which is
returning to haunt the human neighbourhood. It seems the old graves are opening up and hazardous
solid waste ghosts are resurrecting from their graves and coming for us, this time with venomous lethal
potency. But what exactly causes this pollution? What are the sources of these hazardous waste
For generations, as new technological feats have been surmounted, the world population has been
growing exponentially. As at 6
October, 1999, the World Population was estimated at six billion!
Ρ ΡΡ Ρ
all standards, this is a big number of people, looking at the present earth carrying capacity. Some how,
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 42
all these people must have good clothing, enough food, good shelter and access to clean drinking water.
The tragedy is that the fresh water bodies are becoming dangerously polluted by the day. There is an
immense pressure exerted on the environment as the by products are disposed off. The disposal methods
are varied , depending on the expense attached to the disposal mode. Some throw their rubbish into
surface water bodies while others simply bury the stuff. With time, however, this has proved a bad way
to deal with effluents because human kind is being harmed, as these toxic wastes begin to seep into the
water tables from different points…and livings things ultimately use this same water. The harm mostly
comes through the food chain, although it may take years to accumulate and cause serious fatal health
problems later. But what are the major sources of these toxic substances? According to the article, the
following are the major sources:
1. The Industries- As these churn out top quality goods, the industries have had a problem to dispose
off the by products. Industries such as fertiliser, paint, vanish and detergent paste factories produce
effluents which are disposed off into streams, rivers or simply drained into pits. These selfsame have
hitherto not had impermeable walls, thus letting the chemicals to seep into the ground en route to the
water table. Further more, as the toxic fumes and gases are emitted into the atmosphere, they
dissolve into rain water and fall to the ground in the form of acid rain. These in turn sink and
ultimately find themselves into the ground water. This contaminates the ground water terribly.
2. The second source of ground water pollution is the agriculture activity. As more and more farmers
use chemicals, the said chemicals leech and go into the ground water. Chemicals such as DDT
which were widely used years ago have wormed themselves back into the food chain causing untold
amount of biological damage. It is interesting to note that the unused DDT portions extant at the
time of banning in the USA, are now a health hazard as the drums in which they have been stored,
locked away in some underground pits, are leaking and thus trickling into the ground water!
3. The third source is simply the dumping of waste-especially from the City. Michigan alone has over
59 toxic dump sites and most are probably not safe. In all probability, the sites begun simply as
“safe” but as time progressed, more garbage piled up. Having weak and permeable bases, and under
extreme pressure, the garbage begun to sink. With the advent of rain water, the toxic chemicals
soaked in and trickled to the water table. As earlier intimated in No. 2 above, the DDT drums
corroded and as a result, the deadly chemical have leaked into the ground water.
4. Another source is the land fills which are dug up by human kind. These are areas where the land is
dug up specifically for disposing off waste material instead of dumping the toxic stuff directly into
some water bodies. The Mining industries for example, have lagoons in which the contaminated
stuff is kept either permanently or temporarily. In these circumstances, the are usually placed away
from civilisation and the area sealed off. Unfortunately, until recently, these land fills were not
watched carefully to see the impact on ground water. The article in question shows in graphical
form just how that these toxic substances again percolate into the ground from whence humans draw
water for domestic use. A case which happened in Japan in the 1950s has been sited. It points to the
fact that careless disposal of toxic waste ultimately will get back to us. In the said case, thousands
were afflicted by the mercury which ravaged their nervous systems. Others had their bones
weakened by chronic disease called “Itai-itai” as a result of dumping waste.
5. Non renewable resources using energy power plants are another source of concern because they give
off a lot of waste which is dumped in heaps. These by products are a time bomb as they not only
create pressure on the environment by changing its topography, but the wastes remain toxic for
many years yea, thousands of years! This is true in the case of the Nuclear and coal power plants.
Talking about the Nuclear power stations, the Chernobyl disaster of April 26
,1986 comes to mind.
This disaster has left an indelible mark upon the sands of time as a monument of the imminent
disaster mankind is courting. Among the many disastrous consequences is the fact that the
Sarcophagus will remain a danger point to contaminate ground water. The said reactor No.4 which
was entombed, is reported to be breaking apart. The melt down point is proving to be more difficult
to maintain than earlier thought. Similar accidents have been recorded in the USA, though on a
National Geographic, March 1985 issue pp 337
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 43
Having laboured to establish the sources of this ground water pollution, we now proceed to find what
the major types of toxic substances which are prevalent in the ground water and what the effects of
ground water pollution are. The article mentions the following chemicals
These are but some of the toxic chemicals which are difficult to deal with as they result from necessary
human activities. For example, some of the mercury may come from watches which people throw away!
Further more, some of these are by products from manufacturing detergents and carpet cleaning
chemicals. What exactly are the effects of ingesting these substances? The effects are many but the our
findings from the article reveal the following:
a. These contaminants cause cancers in humans as well as in other animals. Some fish have been found
b. There are reported birth defects in humans. The offspring are found to have disfigured bodies or
may have brain damage. Usually, these children will be mentally retarded.
c. Miscarriages are another result. These chemicals induce spontaneous abortions which leave terrible
scars on the victims.
d. Blood diseases are also common. The blood is badly contaminated an as such, the body does not
function well causing body weakness and a slow death.
e. Some organs are not spared as they cannot metabolise these chemicals and heavy metals. Damages
occur to the Liver, Kidney and the genes(mutation). This leads to serious fatal conditions.
f. Nervous disorders will be witnessed as well. The chemicals will wind their way into the nerve
centres of the body and cause them to malfunction. Nerves, as sensitive as they are, will be
permanently damaged-Mind you, most of these are in remote parts of the body, are too numerous,
minute and nigh impossible to replace.
g. The bones are destroyed. In the case of the Itai-itai disease, there is excruciating pain felt by the
victim. The bones become so weak that a mere sneeze will cause a bone to crack! Numerous bone
dislocations are experienced as well. This has crippled many a soul in Japan.
h. The water is rendered unfit for human consumption. It is said that there is probably more Fresh
ground water than fresh surface water combined. Now if we are to destroy this precious resource,
like we have done with surface water, where are we going to get the other water, seeing that the
fresh water sources are dwindling rapidly?
i. As the fresh ground water resources retreat, there is a danger that the contaminated salty sea &
ocean water will move in to fill the hollow spaces. These are horrifying prospects indeed!
The gloomy picture painted above largely affects humans. Other animals and plants are affected
differently. For example, some fish can carry toxic substances such as DDT in their body tissues and
remain in good health until, by a shortage of food, they begin to utilise the stored up fat. The same fat
poisons the fish with lethal effect
. What are the antidotes and the remedies to the problem? What can
be done to avoid the above situation spreading further? A few solutions are offered:
1.Treat the solid waste before dumping or burying. The truth is that it is easier and cheaper to dispose
off untreated waste. As such, companies, whose main interest is profit, will look for any loop hole to
avoid incurring more expenses on things like incineration. If all polluters would spend more on treating
waste, this would significantly reduce the ground water pollution.
2. Dispose solid waste materials far from the water table, away from humans and animals which need
fresh clean water supplies. This is but another time bomb because man will have recourse to this same
water in future, especially in the light of the dwindling supplies and the world exponential population
3. Use Raw materials which will give off harmless disposable by products. This is a hard alternative but
it is viable once found. Most of the Pollution emanates from the toxic by products. Further more, the
National Geographic, July 1987 issue, page 27 by Cobbs, Jr Charles E
Conservation for survival, page 69.Lindahl Kai
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 44
said wastes are usually hard to get rid of as they very long half lives. Others will virtually take
thousands of years to decompose and lose their toxic potency.
4.Bury all waste in Impermeable dump sites and pits. Ensure that the garbage is located in an area
where the rock structure that is impermeable, as is the case in West Germany, where the solid waste is
stored in drums 2,300 feet below ground in former salt mine tunnels. These tunnels are deep, dry and
geologically stable . This is thought to be the safest facility in the world. Alternatively, the waste could
be dumped in other artificially made concrete sites. This is very costly to construct but Pollution is more
costly in the long run! Generations ahead will curse us if we do not do something now!
5.Promote the use of natural fertilisers where possible. This keeps within the ecosystem equilibrium.
More ways must be devised that will ensure maximum use of decomposition and animal waste. This is
extremely difficult to achieve given the population today which demands food on a commercial level.
Subsistence ways are far outstripped by food demand and somewhat obsolete for our times.
The environmental problems hem in on us from every side but as the author of the article ably quotes
someone at the end of his report, we affirm that “We would like to live long enough to see an end to
problems with hazardous waste”, to this we aspire!
1. Boraiko.A, (March, 1985,pp318-351) Hazardous Waste. Washington D.C: National Geographic
2. Lindahl.K,(1972) Conservation for survival. London. Victor Collancz Ltd
3. GIS World, Battista .C, March 1994 issue “Chernobyl: Model Aids Nuclear Disaster relief” pp32-35.
4. Readers’ Digest,Pekkanen. J, May 1991 issue,Volume138 “Chernobyl: The man who flew into hell”
5. Pickering.C.K., Owen. L.A(1995) An introduction to global environmental issues. London & New
6. Cobbs Jr. C,(July,1987,pp 2-31) The Great lakes’ troubled waters. Washington D.C: National
7. Lee.D.B (July,1992,pp2-37)Americas’ third coast. Washington D.C: National Geographic Society
8. Caring for the Earth-Summary. IUCN/UNEP/WWF(1991) pp 16
9. Environmental Management hand book-Preston University/CACC
PAÞcn 2 PAÞcn 2 PAÞcn 2 PAÞcn 2
n December 1952, over 4,000 people perished at the grisly hands of toxic smog which settled over
London for four days. More recently, in 1991, Athens was engulfed in a cloud of smoke, which landed
many in hospital. These and many like incidents have been recorded more frequently all over the world,
especially in major cities where there is heavy traffic. But what has caused these occurrences? What
exactly is the root cause and what can be done to correct this situation? Many have undertaken to
highlight these problems and one of these is an article “Environmental Polluters to face criminal
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 45
charges” which appeared in the Zambia Daily mail issue of 4
August 1999. We shall attempt to define
what this kind of pollution is and then seek to show its effects as well as the possible remedies.
What exactly is pollution? Pollution is generally defined as “The introduction of certain parameters into
, which cannot be engrafted properly into the ecosystem due to their nature or volume
and thus lead to deleterious consequences as a result of an eco-inequilibrium.” Clearly, we note that this
state of affairs is very hostile to vegetation, animals and human kind. The parameters here spoken of are
of varied types depending on the type of pollution at hand. For our purposes we confine our selves to air
pollution. This is one of the most common forms of pollution because we meet it at every turn. But what
are the major sources of pollution in the world today? A number are identified below:
1.The Coal Power generating plants. These are spread all over the world and in some cases, their
concentration is so high like in the coal power plants of the UK. These use coal that burns and gives off
thick dark fumes. These fumes billow into the air and are transported many kilometres away from the
2.Volcanic eruptions The Volcanic eruptions have been known to be the largest natural polluters, even
outweighing present anthropogenic emissions. It is estimated that some eruptions release as much as 15
– 30 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide into the air!
3. Toxic Fumes from Cars. Cars give out Carbon Monoxide and Lead. Carbon monoxide, an odourless,
colourless gas, is formed when the following reaction occurs:
2C(s) + O2 2CO(g)
Lead is a deadly pollutant and once it enters the human body system, even in minute quantities will
cause mental disorders on the victim, especially children.
4.Domestic burning. This is by far the most common type of pollution source. People burn things and
natural gas in homes, especially in the cooler countries where gas is used for cooking and warming. An
example of a polluting reaction is the burning of methane in the following reaction:
CH4 + 3O2 CO2 + 2H2O
This reaction causes more carbon dioxide to be released to the atmosphere thereby contributing to
5.Industries- Industries are a major source of pollution as their by-products are usually dirty and toxic.
The Oil refineries and other chemical factories have continued pouring dense poisonous fumes into the
air. These must be watched very carefully.
6.Mining activities- Anthropogenic activities such as mining are as old as the world probably. Today,
how ever, this activity ranks among the highest polluters in the world. Smoke and dust come from the
mineral processing activities especially from the metal smelters. It is no wonder that the surrounding
areas of the mines do not have vegetation and acid rain is a common feature in near by localities.
7.Firewood burning- As the need for power rises, so also the demand for firewood. This means that
more trees are felled to produce the wood charcoal. The ramifications are that there will be fewer trees
to carry out photosynthesis, which converts carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to give oxygen. The
mere processing of wood to charcoal makes smoke to be produced. This practice is more pronounced in
8.Air plane and Rocket fumes. Not much has been written about the effect of planes on the
environment. One author once asserted that the pollution produced by the take off of one Boeing 707 is
equivalent to 6,850 accelerating Volkswagens. In Munich for example, an area of 20 hectares near the
airport has suffered severe pollution where the pine trees are dying-all due to the air plane exhausts.
Want of space forbids us to talk about the noise and air pollution generated by the many rockets
launched into space.
9. Exponential Population growth. The rapid increase of the worlds’ population has far outstripped the
earth’s carrying capacity. There is unbearable strain on the worlds’ resources as the global population
hurtles towards the seven billion mark. Not only is there stress on the resources, but also the amount of
Carbon dioxide emissions have increased proportionally. While the human population is on the
The environment is the world in which we live. It is the source of our food, water and the air we breathe
Source: Introduction to global environmental issues, Pickering.C. Owen L p 116.
Source: Conservation for survival ,Lindahl K., 1972, Page 14
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 46
exponential increase, that of plants is on the decline, meaning less oxygen machines available (i.e. the
Having identified the major air polluting sources, we proceed to enquire as to the types of pollutants and
the effects of this type of pollution. The question to hand is “What are some of the toxic air pollutants
and what are the effects on man and the environment?” The major air pollutants are given below:
1.Carbon monoxide. This is a colourless and odourless gas formed when incomplete combustion takes
place. This gas is produced in car engine combustion as well as when hydrocarbons are burnt where
insufficient oxygen is present.
2.Sulphur dioxide. This gas is mainly emitted from the Mines, which pour out untold amounts of this
gaseous substance into the air. This gas rises into the atmosphere and settles in the air. Some of it is
dissolved into the rainwater to form other chemicals that fall to the ground.
3.Hydro carbons and organic acids- The hydrocarbons fuels and the CFCs are used in aerosols as
propellants. They are preferred because they are chemically very inert and thus do not react with other
materials in the container. However, in the upper atmosphere, UV light splits the CFC
! !! !
Chlorine. This chlorine then reacts with ozone to produce oxygen.
4.Lead- Is a naturally occurring element and it is added to petrol in cars to improve the engine
efficiency. The air concentration of the Lead is relative from place to place but is highest where traffic
congestion is upper most-the cities.
5.Nitrogen Oxides-These are oxides that come from sources such as the burning of organic substances,
or reactions in the air with certain gases such as Carbon Monoxide or Sulphur oxides.
6.Nuclear waste and fall out. This topic has been a source of much controversy in the recent past due to
the nature of the materials at hand. While nuclear use and knowledge has increased over time, the age-
old question that still begs answering is, “How are we to safely dispose off hazardous nuclear waste
permanently after use?” No real solution has been found. The problem is that nuclear materials are
lethal and invisible to the human eye. In addition, they usually have long half-lives and can exist in that
lethal state for many years. Where these have accidentally been exposed to the free atmosphere, untold
amount of damage has been recorded, as was the case with the April 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in
the former USSR. To this day, large stretches of land and air remain deadly to traverse. This nuclear
waste and fallout threatens both the wild life and the environmental health of a certain locality. Even
more hair raising is the fact that the contaminated air moves from place to place and thus transports the
radiation particles to distant places. It has been reported for example, that animals grazing in
Scandinavian countries were condemned and the milk not fit for human consumption. Once exposed,
the human body cells rapidly disintegrate, mutations occur and cancer like Leukemia develops. From
the above scenario, it is clear that nuclear technology, whilst plausibly cheaper and more efficient, is a
long-term hazardous pollutant of the atmosphere.
What are some of the effects of air pollution? Looking at the magnitude of the terrible effects
, it is
difficult to point out exhaustively the extent of this scourge but a few suggested answers will suffice for
our purposes. The following effects immediately come to the fore:
1. Discomfort, health problems and death. It is now a documented fact that air pollution is a silent,
slow but certain killer. As intimated at the beginning of this paper, the noxious gases have and
continue to do great harm. In humans, respiratory ailments like Bronchitis and Empysema worsen.
Air pollution is also linked to Lung cancer, being more prevalent in industrial countries rather than
in agrarian ones. Carbon monoxide, one of the poisonous gases once inhaled displaces the Oxygen
in the blood and reduces the amount carried to the body tissues, thus the brain gets starved of
oxygen and the victim dies. Further more, CO slows down the body reactions even in the healthiest
persons and contributes significantly to the risks of accidents.
“The total chlorine loading of the atmosphere has continued to rise… Governments should replace CFCs and other Ozone
depleting substances, consistent with the Montreal Protocol…” Agenda 21-1992 Rio earth summit.
The 1992 Rio earth summit highlighted the following… “Air pollution damages lungs, corrodes buildings, poisons soils
and crops, kills forests and makes lakes unfit for aquatic life…"
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 47
2. Acid rain forms
. It is true that acid rain emanates directly from air pollution. What happens is that
as the Nitrogen oxides and the Sulphur oxides dissolve into rain water, they change the pH level of
the water so much that by the time the rain falls to the ground, the pH of the water will be around 4.
Some excess gases are not absorbed as the atmosphere only cleans a percentage. This falls later as
rain and will most likely fall in a totally different locality where it causes other problems such as
acidifying lakes and soils. Acid rain also destroys vegetation in the following two ways by firstly,
destroying stomata and secondly, by simply poisoning the soil so that certain plants will not grow.
The following are the suggested reactions that take place in the atmosphere to form acid rain:
(i) SO2(g) + H2O(l) H2SO3 (Sulphurous acid) or
(ii) SO3(g) + H2O(l) H2SO4 (Sulphuric acid)
This is how acid rain is formed as the gases react with rainwater
3. Large stretches of vegetation are destroyed- Closely akin to the aforementioned point, large
stretches of vegetation are destroyed. It has been speculated by some scientists that if not carefully
managed, air pollution has the potential to cause entire forests to vanish. This is because the plant
leaves are destroyed by either dry or wet deposition of pollutants on the leaf surfaces. As the
pollutants settle on the surface, they not only destroy the stomata but allow toxic gases like Ozone to
enter into the plant
too. Further more, in places near industrial areas, mines and airports, the
vegetation is either absent or experiences stunted growth. In those areas no plant survives once
planted. The explanation is simply that the Sulphur dioxide scorches, chokes and kills the plants. In
cities, mass Lichen deaths are the first signs of pollution as they are extremely sensitive to smoke.
4. Air concentration balances altered. Though no documented evidence was found, I seriously think
that a chance exists that the traditional concentration ratio of gases in normal clean air (i.e. Nitrogen,
78%, oxygen 21% and 1% other trace elements) is now being altered due to the anthropogenic
actions as more gases are pumped into the atmosphere. This postulation, if correct, will mean that
the air becomes more toxic and unhealthy for organisms. The will lead to diversity reduction in
species and diseases increase such as lung cancer as asserted in No. 1 above.
5. Weather and climate changes-The far-reaching consequence of pollution is that the weather, world-
over is changing rapidly and unpredictably. Hither to, it took no less than 30 years to predict the
climatic conditions of an area but today this data is obsolete. The advent of the computer and
Satellite technology aids us to figure out what is going on at a given moment but cannot tell us
precisely what will happen 10 years hence. All these sudden weather changes are attributed to
6. Death of marine life due to temperature changes. Due to the weather instability and the atmospheric
changes, marine life will die. The water temperature changes will lead to extensive deaths of
organisms sensitive to temperature variations. The Bio diversity is at risk as well.
7. Destruction of buildings Acid rain destroys the curving on some ancient limestone buildings. The
acid reacts with the calcium carbonate and destroys the structures slowly. Other uncalculated costs
such as the dirt/soot on building walls, the corroded metal bridges whose repairs and cleaning are
very expensive. Dust pollution is also a menace in many places.
8. Deserts expand and get hotter There is an expected significant advance of the hot deserts as more
vegetation dies off. The Kalahari and the Sahara deserts have been expanding further out at a
phenomenal rate in recent years.
9. Changes in the circulation of the ocean currents. The advent of the indiscriminate air pollution by
human activity has led to the erratic weather patterns in the atmosphere. Among the anticipated
changes is the route of the ocean currents. Traditional patterns are being violated by the unstable
conditions in the upper atmosphere. If this happens, there will be different distributions of species,
different impacts on the continents and the reduced bio diversity.
Vegetation is affected by the following pollutants: Gases kill the cells, acid rain damages plants as well as lowers the soil
pH & mobilises toxic metals, air borne particles settle on the plants to reduce solar radiation received hindering
photosynthesis, dust particles block stomatal pores and inhibit gas exchange as well as photosynthesis
See footnote with same symbol on previous page
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 48
10. Ozone layer depletion. Since the British scientists discovered the Ozone holes
, there has been a lot
of debate. The fact that the Ozone layer, found between 15-45 kilometres above the earth, has
developed holes due to human activity spells doom for man. This layer is the worlds’ shield against
the lethal solar radiation that comes to the earth from the sun. When the said radiation reaches the
earth, the Ozone layer filters out the harmful Ultra Violet (UV) radiation from the rays allowing
only safe doses to reach the earth. In the absence of this selfsame layer, the entire load reaches the
earth causing invisible but catastrophic harm to organisms. In humans, especially among the white
skinned people who have little melanin in their skins, cancers are prevalent. Cataracts have also
been associated with the Ozone depletion phenomenon. Further more, increased UV bir radiation
will affect sensitive marine, crops, and terrestrial ecosystems. But what exactly is Ozone? What
happens to it and why? Where is it found? Ozone is a form of oxygen except that each Ozone
molecule is made up of three oxygen atoms. It is a light blue toxic gas with a pungent smell. Ozone
is formed by the reaction of ordinary Oxygen gas (O2) molecule with atomic oxygen (O) from
Nitrogen dioxide in the air in the presence of Ultra Violet radiation. The reaction goes as follows:
O2(g) + O(g) O3
This reaction takes place on a large scale and so forms an effective barrier to solar radiation.
Unfortunately, this selfsame gas is easily destroyed by certain elements in the atmosphere that
leads to the situation we sited-the Ozone hole. The major cause of the rapid break down of the
layer is attributed to the use of aerosols. These aerosols contain inert propellant gases such as
Chlorofloro Carbons or CFC
s. After being released from spraying cans and fridges, these ascend
to the higher orbs where, in the presence of UV light they split to give free Chlorine
radicals.These free chlorine radicals then go and “attack” the Ozone in a spontaneous continuous
manner. In this way, the destruction rate of Ozone is far higher than the formation, thus leading
to the Ozone holes. The following is the reaction that probably takes place when the Ozone is
Cl + O3 ClO + O2
Unless drastic measures are put in place, we will continue to witness more and bigger Ozone holes, as
the present ones are widening by the day. Also the skin cancer cases will continue to rise especially
among the white skinned people in places like Australia
where the ozone protection has fallen
. It is good that modern fringes and aerosol cans have been branded “Ozone friendly”. Repair of
the badly damaged Ozone layer will take many decades.
11. Frequent Famines and floods. Air pollution will cause more frequent natural disasters. There is so
much evidence from all parts of the world. Further, what is the explanation of the droughts, famines
and crop failures worldwide? Isn’t it because of mans’ continued violation of the natural balance in
the ecosystem? We strongly suspect pollution.
12. Heat waves. Hither to, heat waves were a rare phenomenon but the recent years have witnessed a
higher frequency of these. The local press is replete with many incidences depicting sudden heat
outbursts in different parts of the world. High temperature rises cause mass deaths. Plants are
scorched too as excessive heat causes serious dehydration.
13. Polar cap melting. The coming months and years, will witness unprecedented global temperature
rises that will cause the ice caps at the two poles of the earth to melt. Presently, the cold deserts hold
much water in frozen state and thus reduce the amount of free flowing water in the oceans. Imagine a
release of this trapped water.
14. Global warming. Global warming is pivotal to the many changes that are taking place in the world
today. There is a general increase in the world temperatures due to the presence of more free Carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a green house gas and so heats up the earth as it traps the
Quoted from the Awake! Magazine, December 22, 1994 issue page 6 “When our atmosphere is damaged”
An estimated 20 million tons of CFC have been already been released into the atmosphere…reports the 1994 magazine
The following except is from The New scientist: “…there were unusually low values of Ozone concentrations in 1992
between latitudes 50*N & 60*N, covering northern Europe, Russia and Canada. The Ozone level was 12% below normal,
lower than at anytime in 35 years of continuous observations…”
Depletion is most rapid in extremely cold & still conditions like Antarctica where over 60% or more Ozone has bee
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 49
Infra red radiation keeping the heat in the lower atmosphere causing an inequilibrium in the ecosystem.
The ramifications are the observed weather and climatic changes. It is postulated that going by the
present trends, the temperatures worldwide might rise by an estimated 1.5-4.5*C, depending partly on
the response of the natural CO2 reservoirs such as forests and oceans. It is estimated that some 300,000
times more carbon dioxide is trapped in the ocean floors as fossils and rocks
. There fears that as more
global warming occurs, the trapped deposits will be released into the atmosphere, causing even more
havoc. Reversing the global warming trend will be hard since CO2 remains in the atmosphere for many
decades. The 1992 Rio de Jenairo earth summit
called for countries to stabilise the CO2 emissions at
1990 levels by the year 2000.
15. Tide rise. It is postulated by some scientists that there has been and will be more tidal rise in the
ocean and sea water levels. As pointed out in 14 above, the melting of the polar caps means more water
unlocked into the oceans. This, among many things threatens to flood lowlands such as the pacific
islands and Bangladesh. Also, the atolls, Coral reefs and other bodies where organisms thrive will be
submerged and reduce the biodiversity further. This will also mean that the hurricanes on coastlines
will be even more difficult to quell.
16. Reduced light intensity It has been noticed that the light intensity in heavily polluted areas has been
reduced significantly due to the dark fumes that hover over the polluted areas. As one approaches an
industrial town, one can clearly see a dark smoke hallow enveloping the city, but upon entering the city,
the cloud is virtually invisible to the human eye. Every hour, people are breathing smoke into their body
systems unawares. In some extreme cases, visibility is impaired due to the dense fumes, reducing sight
to less than 10 metres! This condition is a sure recipe for disaster and has a two fold negative effect:
1. The process of photosynthesis is hindered in plants and thus leads to stunted plant growth and death.
2. The dark clouds have contributed to many accidents due to the poor visibility.
17. Noise pollution. Noise has come with mechanisation. Although the definition of “Noise” is relative,
any unwanted sound can be classified as noise. The Factories, cars, aeroplanes and even our own
domestic gadgets give off noise. Those who work among machines for long hours on end are most at
risk of suffering the ill effects of continuous noise pollution.
18. Toxication of lakes & soil. Acid rain pollutes the water bodies making them inhabitable to aquatic
life. This has occurred in Scandinavia. Also, the selfsame acid rain changes the soil pH poisoning
plants. This has a bearing on the type of Flora and Fauna extant in a given locality. Both these negative
effects lead to a reduced bio diversity.
The above effects speak for themselves. What ought to be done? The article to hand suggests that the
law be invoked. But what practical tangible steps can we take to help tame the pollution tide? A few
pragmatic steps are suggested:
1. Strengthen the existing laws against Polluters.- The relevant appointed environmental protection
institutions must be strengthened. In turn, this will empower them to prosecute polluters with minimal
external interference. In many countries, the same ecological protection bodies are there only to report
pollution occurrences but have no power to bring to book all the offenders. To effectively enforce these
laws, there is need for institutional capacity upgrade for relevant bodies and individuals.
2. Minimise the polluting levels of the atmosphere.
Presently, the emissions into the atmosphere are so
high.. The ideal situation is to simply shut down the pollution sources! Pragmatic measures must be put
in place that will enable the existing polluters to carefully watch their waste emissions. Further more,
cleaner and more efficient ways must be developed which reduce the degree of air contamination.
3. Develop healthier, cleaner and efficient power sources. More money must be spent on research into
newer cleaner power sources. The hydrocarbon fuels, which are used extensively, are not renewable and
therefore wasting assets. Secondly, they emit a lot of fumes when burning. In an ideal situation, nuclear
Source: Worlds in the sky, Sheenan.W., 1992, p 75
Maurice Strong, the earth summit Secretary General stated: “ Stabilising the gaseous composition of the atmosphere is
clearly the most urgent problem we face in the 1990s… Carbon emissions must be cut atleast by 60% just to put the global
warming trend on hold…”
It is important to note the following as stated by UNEP in 1992 “ Exposure to air pollution is now an inescapable part of
urban life through out the world…”
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 50
power is potentially a good power source as is the hydro one but these systems must be perfected and
made more efficient before they can be effectively used widely across the world.
4. Regulate the emission to the 1990 levels. Among the many proposals that were suggested at the 1992
Rio earth summit
was the desire to regulate emission to the 1990 levels. This means that nations must
strive to either reduce or maintain the 1990 levels while alternative solutions were being sought.
5. Intensify global awareness campaigns. Ironically the greater part of the world remains asleep in the
light. They see the danger but many remain indifferent or continue in their old indiscriminately
destructive habits. More aggressive campaigns are urgently needed.
6. Encourage the use of public transport- This proposal is a plausible one but it largely depends on the
degree of sympathy people have towards environmental issues. Voluntary use of public transport rather
than private vehicles must be encouraged. Unfortunately, not all people appreciate the problem at hand.
One way to encourage people is to offer some incentive for voluntary use of public transport.
7. Declare “car free”days - This proposal is closely connected to the one above except that in this
instance, people have no choice but to obey. The issue at hand is a moral one that affects every one.
Certain roads must be closed on chosen days. We are fast approaching a time when private traffic
restrictions will be a necessity. We need to act promptly or be forced into an austere position.
8. Introduce toxins neutralising elements during mass production processes. This means that certain
substances have to be introduced either into the air or be added to by-products so that when they
react with atmospheric pollutants, bringing about neutralisation. The substances will be filter out
most of the toxic chemicals. The only hurdle is that this is an expensive undertaking and also poses
other detrimental environmental problems like where these waste materials will be dumped with
9. “Nip” potential pollution sources in the “bud.” This is simply the idea that any up coming pollution
source must be watched strictly even before one puff of smoke is released to the atmosphere.
Realistic guidelines must be put in place to guarantee continuous monitoring.
10. Be meticulous what industries registered, especially in the poorer developing countries! Although
most of the atmospheric pollution presently occurs in the highly Industrialised countries, this
scourge is fast shifting to the less developed nations.
11 Establish the critical loads of every environment. This is very crucial if sustainable development is
to be a reality in the world today. Deliberate policy must be in place to determine the critical loads
of the environment. Since Pollution cannot be entirely eradicated
, degradation can, this calls for
careful observation and research to determine the maximum levels beyond which degradation
begins. In the case of water bodies for example, this means that the acid neutralising capacity
(ANC) must be known.
12 Curb noise pollution: Though noise pollution is here to stay, silencers must be utilised or the noise
pollution sources relocated to alternate places far from society. This will minimise the
inconvenience suffered by myriads.
As the new millennium unfolds, we, like the article author ably concludes, hope that the laws enacted
will have the potency to restore sanity in human kinds’ mad quest to exploit nature without paying back
dividends. Let us join hands with the environmental crusaders on the throes of earth restoration!
ÐiaLiocnAÞHY ÐiaLiocnAÞHY ÐiaLiocnAÞHY ÐiaLiocnAÞHY
1. Zambia Daily mail, 4
August 1999 issue by Kasuba Mulenga, “Environmental polluters to face
2. Reader’s Digest, May 1991 issue, Pekkanen “The man who flew into hell” Pages 147-176
3. Introduction to global environmental issues.1995 Pickering C. Owen. L. London & New York.
4. Enviro line, April 1996 issue Vol 1 No. 1 Environmental council of Zambia
See foot note under global warming on p7 by Maurice strong.
“Exposure to air pollution is now almost an inescapable part of the urban part of life through out the world”- UNEP, 1992
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 51
5. Conservation for survival: an ecological strategy.1972. Lindahl K. London. Victor Collancz ltd
6. Worlds in the sky.1992. Sheenan. W
7. GIS WORLD , March 1994 issue,Vol 7 No. 3. Page 32. Chernobyl: GIS aids model nuclear disaster
relief. GIS WORLD Inc, Washington.
8. National Geographic, May 1987 issue. Mike Edwards, “Chernobyl-One year after” pages 632-
9. Caring for the earth- a strategy for sustainable development (Summary). IUCN/WWF/UNEP 1991
10. A bomb Radiation effects Digest. Harwood academic publishers, 1993.
11. National Geographic, July 1987 issue. Cobb.C. jr. The Great Lakes’ troubled waters. Pages 2-31
12. National Geographic, July 1992 issue. Lee D. America’s third coast
13. Message, May/June 1990 page 18,19, WM.B Eerdmans publishing Co., 1985
14. National Geographic, March 1985 issue, Allen A. Boraiko. Hazardous waste. Pages 318-351,364-
15. Awake! Magazine, December 22, 1994 issue. Watch tower publications
16. Quotations from the Rio de Jenairo summit
PAÞcn 3 PAÞcn 3 PAÞcn 3 PAÞcn 3
There has been much talk about the threat to exterminate forests lately. The local and international
press including books are replete with the debates on the forests. The crusade for the forest
is on the increase each day. But why is there such an outcry? After all, what is the
necessity of keeping many needless trees around us? Are we backtracking on the dreams of our
forefathers who wanted a clearer planet? Among the many people who have ventured to address this
issue is Bwalya Nondo whose article entitled “Kafue Forest reserves fall to squatters” is a classic
one. Perhaps the question that still begs answering is “What is the importance of forest?”
In answering that question, we will do well to state that in this assignment, we deal with the topic of
Deforestation, in general and its effects.
What then is deforestation? Some one has simply defined it as “The conversion of forest land to other
uses, such as pasture and cropland”
This simple definition means that large stretches of prior forested
land are cleared due to anthropogenic actions, in the quest to develop. A few years ago, trees occupied
more land than people did but now, the opposite is true. In Zambia, where atleast three major categories
of vegetation exist i.e. the closed forests, the open forests, and the grassland, including wetlands &
Dambos, none have escaped unscathed by the wave of forest degradation wave that has hit world.
question still lingers, what is the importance of forests? A number of answers come to the fore:
1. Forests are the Natural oxygen machines through the process of photosynthesis.
2. Forests help to hold the soil together. The soil structure is refined as well as held together.
3. Forests are windbreakers. Many a whirlwind is stopped by the tree barrier. Dust pollution is also
4. Forests help regulate the hydrological cycle. Through transpiration, much water is transmitted to the
atmosphere. Also, The trees keep water from being lost rapidly.
5. Forests are of economic value-Forests provide the much needed wood for construction and other
uses such as paper and rubber making. The trees also enrich the soil with nutrients.
6. Forests are the natural habitats of many organisms. Myriads of organisms perch and flourish in the
trees. Untold bio diversity is found in the forest, adding to the beauty of the natural world.
Conservation is the management of human use of the Biosphere so that it may yield the greatest sustainable benefit to
present generations while maintaining its potential to meet the needs & aspirations of future generations-Kawanga &
Introduction to global environmental issue, Pickering K & Owen L. P366
It is estimated that between 200,000 to 300,000 hectares of forests are indiscriminately destroyed annually- January 28
1999 Daily mail & August 4
1999 Daily Mail.
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 52
7. Forests help prevent floods. There have been postulations that the frequent flooding in area like
Bangladesh has been due to deforestation. Trees reduce the run off rate and also retain most of the
water from the uplands.
8. Forests provide Fuel and charcoal.-This goes without saying, fuel and energy are derived from trees
for domestic use.
9. Forests protect the water catchment areas. Where trees have been felled around the catchment area,
streams have dried shortly afterwards. This is because trees retain water and also keep the water
table near the surface. When they are cleared, all the water is lost rapidly.
10. Forests are a source of medicines. The cure of Aids and Cancer are concealed some where in those
forests. Medicines all have their root to forests.
11. Forests ensure that subterranean water bodies are perennial. Akin to No.9 above, the underground
streams and rivers run dry shortly or reduced to seasonal ones.
12. Forests are a barrier to soil erosion-akin to No.2 above, the absence of trees will leave the area
vulnerable to rapid erosion where gullies will dominate. The soil subsequently becomes loose and
loses fertility. Erosion disfigures the landscape too.
13. Forests are the hub a great bio diversity of plants and animals. Akin to No. 6 above, not only is it a
habitant for organisms, but it must be emphasised that a Bio diverse
crop of organisms is kept safe in the forests leading to a balanced eco-system.
14. Forests provide shade and comfort. Although this might seem a minor point, trees give shade and
comfort to animals and humans as well. It is difficult to compute this in monetary terms but it surely
15. Landslides prevented. On sloppy topography, trees hold the soil together and in times of heavy run
off, the trees reduce the possibility of landslides.
The points above show the importance of trees if man is to survive in ages to come. Our introduction
declared that forests were being indiscriminately cleared, what exactly are the major contributors of this
scourge? The underlying answer is that human activity is at the centre of it all. Some major causes are
1. Charcoal burning. The demand for charcoal has increased as the global population has. The article
highlights the activity as one that takes place every day in the forest reserve. Although charcoal
burning is labour intensive, economic necessity overrides inconvenience.
2. Demand increase. The exponential world population growth means the demand has increased by the
same token. There fore, more trees are felled to satisfy the ready market.
3. Development. Large stretches of land are cleared annually pave way for development. New towns,
roads and structures are constructed without taking an environmental impact assessment. The profit
motive rather than the sustainable development is the human goal.
4. Atmospheric pollution -There has been an increase in the incidence of acid rain as a result of
atmospheric pollution. When the acid rain falls on the vegetation, it has destroyed many of them.
5. Agriculture- As man has moved to commercial farming, large areas have been cleared for
monoculture thus not only destroying forests but the biodiversity as well. The article highlights how
the Kafue east topography has been ravaged.
6. Spraying-In the quest to kill pests, many forests and plants have been poisoned and killed. When
DDT was widely used, it actually went up the food chain to poison man as well.
7. Pasture- With the advent of commercial farming, animals are kept in one area where they live and
feed. Their confinement causes pressure on the land as the hoofs destroy the land and all the
available vegetation is either trampled on or eaten.
8. Fires. Natural fires are caused by lightening but others are lit by humans, in conformity with the age
old traditional practices. This is prevalent in the flood plains of the Western Province of Zambia.
This kills plants and organisms.
Having noted the sources of deforestation, we now proceed to look at the effects of this act of
deforestation. The perceived adverse effects are:
1. Soil erosion. There being no trees to hold the soil together, the land quickly becomes denuded and
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 53
2. Siltation. Closely akin to the above, in areas where rivers flow, the eroded soil goes into the river
and causes siltation. This raises the river bed there by blocking the river, and sometimes, deposition
3. Droughts. As there are no trees to facilitate transpiration, land becomes dry and so no water
transmitted to the upper atmosphere. Droughts result.
4. Desertification encroaches. The deserts expand having been given a foothold to claim more land.
Once deforested, the land is vulnerable to barrenness that leads to desertification.
5. Drying up of Perennial rivers and streams. The absence of rivers in catchment areas means no water
to guarantee the continued flow of the river.
6. Drying up of subterranean streams. The absence of trees not only lowers the water table, it also
leads to underground streams to dry up.
7. Lowering of food security. Although remote, the indiscriminate cutting down of trees ultimately
leads to lower crop yields as the soil will be less fertile and thus lead to economic collapse.
8. Flooding. Deforestation has been linked to flooding in Bangladesh. The Himalayan region has
undergone acute deforestation and some Environmentalists strongly believe that deforestation is to
9. Fewer medicine sources. The cure for cancer is believed to lie somewhere in the forests, but if these
are cleared, it spells doom for humankind. Medicines like quinine were discovered in the forests!
10. Landslides. These are more frequent in denuded and deforested areas because vthe soil is lose.
11. Land invasion by new growth. The deforested land is taken over by secondary forests or the exotic
species invade the land, changing the landscape forever.
12. Reduced bio diversity. Monoculture has led to a reduced species of plants that interplay so
wonderfully to add beauty and balance to the ecosystem. When these are cleared, the land becomes
We have looked at the causes and effects of deforestation, it is now fitting to offer some possible
remedies to this pending catastrophe. These are:
1. Strengthen the law on forestry. As the article suggests, the greatest need is to enact laws that will
empower forest pundits to deal with offenders. As is the case in the Kafue forest reserve, the pundits
are the law-abiding citizens and not the forest destroyers! The Ministry has no teeth.
2. Carry out an environmental assessment impact before any major under taking such as the building
of towns or roads.
3. Afforestation. There has been a growing call for more trees to be planted, whether exotic or not.
Whilst very plausible, this must be done very carefully or else the exotic plants can invade and
overtake the indigenous species. Also, some plants like the pines in England have been linked to the
acidification of water bodies.
Care must be taken by all concerned to ensure that no adverse impact
results from an apparently worthy cause.
4. Reforestation-This will mean allowing the natural vegetation to regeneration freely having been
depleted due to human activity. This is the best and ideal practice but regeneration takes many
decades and centuries to recover the former glory. The rate of re growth in some exotic species is
quicker and thus preferred.
5. Awareness campaigns. Incidentally, those who practice destructive habits know the consequences
though not fully. There should be a deliberate effort to educate the masses through different fora and
media. Myriads careless whether the tree in their back yard is there or not.
6. Offer alternative land to squatters- Apart from cautioning the people, the culprits must be offered
other land designated for farming etc. The problem that confronts some people is that they have no
alternative means of lively hood. If you deny them the trees, they will perish with hunger!
7. Work within the extant framework. This means that no one is victimised but that the authorities
work hand in hand with the forest users to ensure that only enough is felled to allow the forests
Introduction to global environmental issues Pickering & Owen. p 263,264
Introduction to global environmental issues p 118,119
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 54
recover. This is the goal of sustainable development. People must develop, but not at the expense of
the natural surroundings.
8. Increase funding and research. This sector has been marginalised in many a country because it has
been perceived as a “non-crucial” area, this is a mistake! In poor countries, the above suggestions
cannot take place unless a deliberate policy is put in place to ensure that the suggestions are
implemented and monitored. For example, only $ 500 million
has been spent on this in Zambia.
This is by far inadequate.
9. Minimise Political interference-Half the time, Politicians do not have the long-term dangers at hand.
They only think of the vote. As a result, certain foolish things are condoned. My view is that if there
is to be any interference, it should be for the cause of forest preservation and not for egocentric
purposes. Selfish politicking has been the major cause of the impunity displayed by the Kafue forest
The problem at hand is indeed a very grave one and can only be solved by humankind. Quick action
must be taken or else all that remains will also be extinct. We fear that what has happened at the Kafue
Forest reserve will spread like bush fire. It is so heart rending to watch helplessly as Gods’ creation is
ripped asunder. Let marshal all our resources to save what remains!
ÐiaLiocnAÞHY ÐiaLiocnAÞHY ÐiaLiocnAÞHY ÐiaLiocnAÞHY
1. Sunday Times of Zambia, July 25
1999 issue. Bwalya Nondo, “Kafue forest reserves fall to
2. Times of Zambia, July 5
1999 issues. Kawanga V& Hanyona S, “Forest and habitat
3. Zambia Daily Mail, 28
January 1999 issue. Mulasikwanda L. “Human activity eroding biological
4. Zambia Daily Mail, July 5
1999 issue. Nachalwe C. “Poor funding blamed for deforestation”
5. Zambia Daily Mail, March 3
1999 issue. Chanda A. “Charcoal burners: Not all are environmental
6. The Post, December 4
1998 issue. “Nyerere campaigns for afforestation”
7. The Post, February 8
1999 issue. Kayumba L. “UNZA launches tree planting project”
8. An introduction to global environmental issues 1995. Pickering K. Owen L. London and New York.
9. Know your trees-some common trees found in Zambia 1995. Storrs A.E.G. Regional Soil
10. Conservation for survival 1972. Lindahl K. London. Victor Collancz ltd.
11. Environmental management hand book-Preston Univ/Azaliah
12. Caring for the Earth: a summary. IUCN/WWF/UNEP 1991
13. Forestry for sustainable rural development 1998. New York. Ford foundation.
14. Charcoal industry workshop May 10-14, 1993 Siavonga, Zambia. Serenje W . Chidumayo E.
Chipuwa J. Ellegard A & Egneus H
15. Zambia Daily Mail, August 4
1999 issue. Mulenga K. “Environmental polluters to face criminal
“Pollution” is a pregnant term and has been defined variously. My own simple definition of pollution
is “The introduction of certain parameters into the environment which cannot be co-opted into the
ecosystem and thus cause an eco-inequilibrium leading to environmental degradation”. This situation
renders the environment to be harmful and unpleasant to humans, animals and plants. As can be seen,
Zambia Daily mail, July 5
1999, “Poor funding blamed on deforestation”, Chiwanza Nachalwe
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 55
this definition of pollution is general. Since there are different types of pollution, it is fitting for us to be
clear in our minds from the outset, what type of pollution we are talking about exactly. For our
purposes, we confine our selves to fresh surface water pollution.
“ Human kind has been polluting water since the early days of civilisation.”
In those earlier days
when the World population was small, the fresh water bodies seemed far from being significantly
contaminated. But alas, with the advent of the industrial revolution, there has been an “explosion” of
goods produced. “Mass production” has been the call. With the advent of modern technology, higher
living standards, longer life expectancies and population booms have been experienced. Naturally, these
have their own impact on the environment. As such, since the 1950s, we begun to hear outcries from
different pockets on this terrestrial ball. The present six billion (As at October 6
estimations)people on the earth today, have surely led to great strains on the earth’s carrying capacity to
meet all the needs. The exponential population boom is having its toll today. As such, one does not need
to go far to discover how and why the issue of fresh water scarcity is being highlighted today.
There is a critical shortage of clean fresh water generally on the earth . On the one hand, the
industrialised countries maximise on the use of the fresh water resources, while on the other, the less
development countries like Zambia only use 3% letting the other 97% to flow wastefully to the ocean!
The industrialised countries like the USA, Norway and Sweden have some of the worst polluted fresh
water bodies where, in some cases, the entire aquatic and biological life is almost dead! The Great lakes
in the USA, for example, are so polluted such that it is hazardous to drink the water directly from them!
In the quest to industrialise, the developing countries have also started polluting their fresh water
sources as well. Their industrial waste is dumped into the rivers and lakes whose pollution levels in
most cases far exceed the maximum accepted pollution levels. Most of the industrial and human
effluents are not treated, as this option is cheaper.
As one of the ramifications of pollution, the articles “Kafue weed becoming national crisis”, and
“Kariba weed under control” show clearly that a catastrophe is looming in Zambia as well. The
problem illustrated is but a tip in the ice berg of the grave environmental decay that confronts the world
today. The Kafue and Kariba weeds are two different water hyacinths, which have plagued rivers and
lakes in Zambia. The said articles bring out very revealing facts about the effects of pollution. For
example, the Kafue weed (also known as the Water Malignant hyacinth) has in some places covered the
entire river! There is a thick blanket of vegetation across the river such that the river cannot be seen or
But what has caused this situation? For one thing, it is not known how this Kafue weed got into the
river, because it is natively found in South America. How this weed landed on the Kafue is yet to be
discovered. One thing for sure is that it is there and flourishing! According to the Kafue weed article,
the said pester was first spotted in the early nineteen seventies though in very insignificant traces but
overtime, this selfsame weed has spread widely ending up as a menace. It has proliferated to almost
uncontrollable levels. In attempting to answer the question as to the causes of this pending holocaust,
the article points to the issue of pollution. The hyacinth thrives in an atmosphere where there is a lot of
water, sunshine, Nitrogen and Phosphorus nutrients. All these elements are present on the river.
The following are the sources of some of these elements.
1. The industries – The Nitrogen Chemicals, Kafue textiles, Indeni oils & the Tannery, to name but a
few, pollute the river.
2. The Mines – the mines dump some of their waste such as the slug into the river. These contain some
nutrients. In some cases, the mines dump the waste in lagoons which lead to other pollution
problems such as the pollution of ground water.
An introduction to Global Environmental issues, Pickering C & Owen L (1995) page 135.
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 56
3. The Agricultural Activities – The Nakambala Sugar Estate and the other farmers release a lot of
chemical effluents into the river. These chemicals are a good ground for the hyacinth thriving-
leading to eutrophication
φ φφ φ
in the river.
4. The sewerage – Which is dumped into the river from the cities such as Lusaka, Kafue and
Mazabuka. In some cases these human waste is not treated thereby causing a lot of problems later
on down stream.
The above have continued to dump more and more waste into the river to the extent that the Kafue river
has turned out to be probably the most severely polluted river in Zambia. This river, with all its
impurities flows into the Zambezi River, which river, we have reason, is itself polluted because of the
presence of a similar weed at the Lake Kariba.
But what are the effects of this water pollution? Does it affect anything or any one at all? The answer to
this is an affirmative yes! The presence of heavy water pollution leads to the following.
1. The water becomes unfit for human consumption. As we all know, “Water is life”, a familiar adage
says. It will mean people cannot have access to clean and safe water. If they drink the water, their
health is at risk. Actually, in some countries people are warned sternly against drinking water from
the tap or else get ill, develop terminal diseases such as cancer and die!
2. The water once polluted will cause the hyacinth to flourish thereby making the river not navigable.
In some cases, the river dies!-In extreme situations, the river simply dries up and is buried!
3. The presence of pollution leads to the aquatic and biological life to die. In the case of the Kafue
River, the hyacinth depletes the oxygen concentrations to levels such that fish die! Further, the
“thick vegetation blankets” not allow light to penetrate to the aquatic life beneath.
4. The hyacinth, in the case of the Kafue, Kafubu and Lake Kariba sucks in enormous amount of
water, which is lost rapidly through evaporation. The Kafue weed article stated that these plants are
composed of 95% water, which water is lost and replaced very frequently. This means that the
rivers or lakes lose the much needed water for the hydroelectric power generation. This has serious
adverse economic impact – Also, the concentration of the effluents increases, since the water is less.
5. The water bodies cannot be used for other economic activities such as fishing, boating or swimming.
Imagine diving into an acid swimming pool! But this can happen to the massive water bodies too!
6. Breeding ground for mosquitoes. These Water hyacinth are a perfect hub for mosquito breeding,
having significantly reduced the water speed. The environment created is like a stagnant pool of
7. Closely connected to No.6 above, the reduced water speed due to the presence of the weed will lead
to siltation at the Dam wall bases of the man-made lakes. This siltation is undesirable because it will
ultimately lead to the interruption of hydro power generation and also create more pressure on the
Having looked at the effects of fresh water pollution, the article goes on to attempt to offer some
solutions. The following are suggested:
Eutrophication -Addition of nutrients to water bodies which increase their productivity
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 57
1. Using biological methods – This is breeding the Weevils, which feed on the hyacinth. These weevils
are propagated and then introduced into the water bodies. Ideally, if there were a large enough
population, they could clear the hyacinth. Questions have been asked such as “After the hyacinth are
wiped out, what plants will the weevils ravage next?” Others have raised the point that the
populations of these self-same weevils are too small while the imminent danger is great, needing
2. The second suggestion is the use chemicals to clear the weed. This was used at the lake Kariba
(August 1998)with a measure of success
. The question that begs answering is “Won’t those
chemicals eventually get into the food chain and cause problems later?” This method is quite
effective but poses a danger on the aquatic life in that water body. Infact, this chemical method is in
itself another source of pollution!!
3. The third remedy is the mechanical. This method suggests that direct physical intervention be
implemented. The Government will have to hire certain organisations will use machines and
physically “fish” out the weed from the water bodies. It is practised in East Africa, where soldiers do
it (The lake Victoria has not been spared in this scourge either!). This is an excellent idea but
extremely costly too, looking at the extent of the hyacinth problem. This method has been tried on
the Kafubu river before, (This tributary of the Kafue river is extremely clogged by the weed. It is
on the Copperbelt of Zambia) but no sooner had the weeds been removed than they reappeared ,
with even more vigour! Sustainable ways are needed to combat this foe.
4. The last suggested remedy is to simply turn off the supply of those nutrients! This will mean that all
the polluting sources must have alternative places to dump their effluents. For example, the
Nakambala Sugar Estate will have either to strictly treat its waste or find an alternative dumping
The above suggested ways are not exhaustive, other possible solutions exist as well. It is a fitting
conclusion drawn by the Kafue weed article that this scourge ought to be fought with as much vigour as
we spend on fighting the HIV and AIDS pandemic. We must marshal all our resources to fight the
Hyacinth to the very bitter end!
So, we can see that surface water pollution is on the increase World wide and must be meticulously
watched. In Zambia, the Environmental Council has been empowered through the Environmental
protection and pollution control act (EPPC) cap 204 of 1991, to monitor and prosecute polluters. We
feel more power is needed if this careless pollution tide is to be tamed. Remember, water is life!
ÐlÐLlOGHAPHY ÐlÐLlOGHAPHY ÐlÐLlOGHAPHY ÐlÐLlOGHAPHY
1. Zambia Daily Mail, Singy Hanyona, January 25
1999 “Kafue weed becoming national crisis”
2. Time of Zambia, Emelda Shonga,16
July, 1999 “ Kariba weed Crisis” under control says ZRA
3. “The Chronicle” February 12
, 2000 “River Polluted”< This is a Zimbabwean National daily.
4. Zambia Daily Mail ,Mulenga Kasuba, August 4
, 1999 “Environment polluters to face criminal
5. Environment line, ECZ April 1996 volume 1 number 1 “Environmental Pollution in Zambia: What
is it like?”
6. Pickering. C.K., Owen. L.A(1995) An introduction to Global Environmental issues. London & New
7. Cobb Jr. C,(July, 1987, pp 2-31) The Great Lakes’ troubled waters. Washington D.C: National
“Kariba weed under control…”, Emelda Shonga, Times of Zambia 16
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 58
8. Lindahl.K(1972) Conservation for Survival. London. Victor Collancz ltd
• A hard copy will come through the regular mail box with the attached copies of article. I will also
include photos of the said plagued rivers to add colour to the work. I have visited the following
Water bodies and physically seen the weed:
1. The Kafue River, at the road bridge, where the river is probably worst clogged by the weed.
2. The Kafubu river-This river is completely covered at the places I chose, I found two major sources
of pollution:i. There is a sewer system which is none functional but simply pours untreated human
waste into the river!
ii. There are industries which pour their waste into the river. Ndola is the “Industrial Capital”. Much of
the effluents are not checked either.
The irony of it all is that the Major part of Ndola gets its domestic water supplies from this selfsame
river!.. and no one raises a finger in protest!! A few have though with little success.
The Lake Kariba & Dam- The Dam wall was not too badly clogged but the weed could be seen floating
on the lake in large “Batches” of healthy green vegetable
The Body shop International
This has been a dynamic shop network that has been lobbying various social crusades especially those
on the Environment. If one only heard about its activist works, one would never imagine that the same
entity could possibly produce excellent products, whereas if one only knew about the excellent
products, one could not have imagined that this was the same unorthodox, blunt, rough and riotous
shop! Yet both these attributes mystically unite in this selfsame organisation!
For the body shop, it has meant changing all the time depending on the social needs that confronted it. It
has been built around the robust principles of Anita Roddick, whose ways have been dubbed eccentric
but highly relevant and profitable. Anita has had a passion for social change and has successfully left
her mark on the company work culture. The Body shop has been an exciting and thrilling place to work
at because of the constant new challenges. But who is Anita and from whence does she hail? What has
she done and where is she heading to next? What prospects lie ahead of the body Shop in ensuing
Anita Roddick begun the shops in 1976 and developed them. She, with the help of her husband worked
together and moulded the shop as they saw fit. Having owned a hotel previously, they sold it to pursue
other life long desires before Anita begun doing a business based on natural herbs. The herbs business
mainly focused on skin care, and thus attracted women. With time, people developed confidence in the
products and thus, the shop picked up. It is now close to twenty years since the first shop was opened
and today, the shops are dotted internationally on the globe. Its presence is mainly in the UK but plans
are under way to conquer more and new frontiers. Although the body shop does not market its products,
quality does it for the shops.
But who is Anita exactly? Anita descends from Italian-immigrant parents and has some hind exposure
to business although she never had any formal business training. She got married to Gordon and turned
their house into a hotel. As earlier intimated, they sold it to pursue other things. It was whilst in that
state that Anita begun a small shop dealing with skin care, using natural ingredients. From one shop, the
business blossomed into a chain of shops that are a force to reckon with. Founded on Anita’s strong
principles of social good and environmental protection, the Body shop has been so successful capturing
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 59
But what has made the Body Shop tick? What has been the secret behind the phenomenal growth
despite unorthodox business practices? For one thing, the body shops have been a hive of activity,
constantly changing with the times. A lot of innovation takes place, is customer taste sensitive, strongly
social and environmentally conscious, possessing appealing, natural and personal attention to the
customer, responsive to the current needs and strategic in approach. In addition, the goods are of high
quality, the leader is daringly radical, possesses a good franchising net work with a unique anti animal
testing stance. All these attributes have blended so well together so as to boost the company success
while defying proven industry norms. Further, we assert that the most important sources of this success
have been many.
The first source has been the environmental protection stand. Today, with the frequent talk on the
uncontrolled planet degradation, anyone raising a finger against this scourge will receive a hearing. As
such, the environmental crusade has highlighted the body shop on the international scenario. For
another thing, the unique and strong community contribution thrust is an asset. The company believes
that the company has a moral duty to pay back, in some way, what is got from the community. This
stance alone is a powerful competitive advantage tool. Still further, the head of this organisation, Anita
Roddick, is a robust, diligent and candidly outspoken leader who can not be easily ignored. When she
yells from her tunnel, the world halts to hear her. In addition, the ingredients used in the products are
natural and do not allow testing on animals. The use of the environmentally sensitive methods receives
a lot of applaud from all corners of the world, thus the global acclaim given to the body shops. It is a
curious fact that the shops do not advertise, but the ingredients utilised do the marketing.
Anita has been the single most powerful force in the company. Her management philosophies are
excellent though they are centred around her and are quite imposing. If any will not toll the same line
with Anita, they are surely on the warpath with the iron lady. That not withstanding, she is an asset to
the company in that she has led the company to a strategic position, etching out a unique niche.
Although there is a lot more competition today, the shops continue to tower above rivals because Anita
has wielded certain potent attributes onto the company culture. For example, the company is very
sensitive to environmental and customer taste change, vibrant, agile, and responsive maintaining high
quality products. Further more, there is a lot of innovation and ideas constantly flowing from Anita’s
fertile mind. She has brought about product changes, initiated projects, research and collaborated with
powerful NGOs to get mammoth tasks and changes done. Single handedly, she has resiliently and
valiantly stood against the world even in the face of major opposition from her own employees. For
Anita, dead orthodoxy is not relished but hounded out through the window. Once she sees something
and approves it, she will unflinchingly charge like the Bull towards the goal, of course minding that the
business continues to run successfully.
Obviously, there are many lessons we can learn form such a dynamic company and individual. Firstly
we learn that if a company is to be successful in today’s hostile business environment, it must be
constantly alert and adjust with the times. This means continuous improvement of products, be
constantly learning, be more sensitive to customers, maintain a “small company” atmosphere in the
company, be agile, contribute to the community, and add a “human face” to the company. Secondly, we
learn that a company must hire “Known quantities” as much as possible for these will attract attention to
the company. Not only should these be known people, but also they must be creative, robust, resilient
and diligent risk takers who will not mellow at puny attacks. Anita is the very epitome of constancy.
Thirdly, we must ensure that though star players are preferred, the must not be allowed to paralyse
others. This is evident at the Body shop where Anita is almost everything and no one dares cross her
path. This means that when she fizzles out from the business horizon, the company sinks with her. An
ideal situation is to have a “pool” from which to tap leaders. Anitas’ eccentric maneuvers are uniquely
good but their sustainability is questionable. Fourthly, let it be noted that the company must be agile,
fluid, unbureaucratic, flexible, customer sensitive and must provide that ‘personal touch’ to their
business. Customers must feel individually appreciated and noticed. Myriad companies have staggered
to the company graveyard because of the loss of that personal and good quality speedy service to
customers. Fifthly, the company must maintain a clear strategic mission that should, like the star that
guided the wise men, lead the company to its destiny without much ado. Sixthly, the unique and
unprecedented product niche must be guarded jealously. Not only must this be improved and expanded,
but also the products themselves must be improved continuously. The body shop is unique in its social
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 60
goals as well as in its use of natural ingredients. Others are copying this uniqueness today but they
cannot attain unto its unique prowess. From the afore mentioned lessons, we can clearly see that the
Body shop deviates widely from the normal business trends. Although one’s hair stands on end when
thinking about this entity, yet a company can survive outside the norm, as long as it reads the times well
and acts at the right time. Timing and the right moves are what count. Having asserted thus, let us be
quick to say that it is safer to use the long tested and tried ways, though with a strategic eye.
Looking at the way that the company has developed and evolved over the years, especially in the UK,
we have reason to believe that the body shop has a bright future though this will be hard won. The
business world is replete with companies that are moving towards the use of the same natural
ingredients that have hitherto made the company have a strong uniqueness. The niche has scarcely been
neither challenged nor eroded. In the light of the emerging threats, it is imperative that the company
relocates to a more sustainable position that will strengthen the uniqueness. Among the many things it
will have to do it its quest to evolve into a better company is to maintain and enhance its “personal
attention” to clients, its sensitivity and responsiveness to the changing demands and tastes of customers
out there. Above all, the company must continuously be innovative, train human resource to take over
from Anita, and not lose focus on its community contribution ethic. Now that the body shop is
confronted with the titanic task of penetrating the American market, it must adjust its gears very well
because the issues it will face are fundamentally different from the usual. For example, the American
consumer tastes will differ. Further more, the big social concerns such as the environmental crusades
are not as hot issues in the States compared to Europe. Added to the list of potential hurdles is the legal
environment, trade restrictions, approval criteria of products by the American authorities, the difficulty
to recruit people with a like passion as those else where in the body shop network and the threat from
more apt “copy cats”. One other concern is the age-old stance of not advertising. On the American
market, if a company will not advertise, it will not be noticed and book a place among the company
graves. These and many strategies that have eked triumphs in Europe may not carry the day in the
States. That notwith standing, the Potential market is there as long as the following are observed;
Firstly, the company should strategise, by initially carrying out a market research and then looking for
the best way to enter the market. One way could be to produce some exceptionally high quality products
that can be given free to some key clients for a start. Powerful policies and structures that will ensure
sustainability over time must further support this strategy. I suggest that initially, only one outlet
initially be open and then spread wings depending on the performance of the same. As such, there must
be an allowance for a pay back period of say two years. This may mean running at a loss for a while
before breaking even. It would be wises that the shop hires “known quantities” that wholeheartedly
imbibe the Body shop ethics and who will fearlessly champion the entity causes. Alternatively, the shop
could identify the “Big” social issues on American soils, adopt them and champion the same.
Furthermore, The community contribution must be elected carefully so that it is relevant. Natives could
be trained who will easily accomplish all these. In addition, I feel that the Anita grip over the company
must be modified to allow more liberty for the shop mangers. Apart from franchising, the company
must now reconsider its stance on marketing. In the UK, absence of direct marketing may work, but the
American situation is different, therefore, due care must be given. It is true that what has made the
shops thrive all a long has been the risky ventures and unorthodox methods, but this new prospect calls
for walking circumspectly lest failure dents the company image. The legal environment as well ought to
be watched carefully and if possible, the best lawyers and partnership/collaborations are sought. If an
American partner can be found, a partnership knot could be tied. Lastly, the company must strengthen
its niche by adopting new strategies that will highlight the uniqueness of the products. Topping those
qualities should be the high standards and usefulness of the products. The community contribution must
come in by and by though must be highlighted in the mission statement too.
As Anita and colleagues peer into the future, I would encourage them to launch full throttle onto th
ÐiaLi ÐiaLi ÐiaLi ÐiaLiocnAÞHY ocnAÞHY ocnAÞHY ocnAÞHY
Bower et al, Business Policy, McGraw Hill
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 61
1. Bwalya Nondo Sunday Times of Zambia, July 25
1999 issue. " Kafue Forest reserves fall to
2. Kawanga V & Hanyona S, Times of Zambia, July 5
, 1999 issues. " Forest and habitat
3. Mulasikwanda L Zambia Daily Mail, 28
January, 1999 issue. "Human activity eroding
4. Nachalwe C Zambia Daily Mail 5
July, 1999 issues "Poor funding blamed for deforestation"
5. Chanda A Zambia Daily Mail, March 3
1999 issue. "Charcoal burners: Not all are
6. The Post, December 4
, 1998 issue. "Nyerere campaigns for afforestation"
7. Kayamba L. The Post, 8
February 1999 issue. "Unza launches tree planting project"
8. Pickering K Owen. An Introduction to global Environmental issues. 1995. Routledge. London &
9. Storrs A. E. G. "Know your trees- some common trees found in Zambia 1995. Regional soil
10. Lindahl K. Conservation for survival. 1972 Victor Collancz Ltd London.
11. IUCN/WWF/UNEP 1991: Caring for the Earth, a summary.
12. Environmental Management hand book-Preston University/ Azaliah College.
13. Forestry for sustainable rural development 1998. Ford Foundation. New York.
14. Serenje W. Chidumayo E. Chipuwa, J. E Hegard A & Egneus H, " Charcoal industry workshop,
May 10-14, 1993, Siavonga, Zambia.
15. Mulenga K Zambia Daily Mail, 4
August, 1999 issue. "Environmental polluters to face
16. Enviro Line. Environmental Council of Zambia, 1995/96 issues.
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 62
lNDEX lNDEX lNDEX lNDEX
Acid rain .................................................................... 47, 49
afforestation .......................................................17, 54, 61
air pollution ..................................................................... 45
Anita Roddick............................................................ 58, 59
anthropogenic ................................. 16, 18, 19, 45, 47, 51
Barotse plains .................................................................. 10
Bible ................................................................................ 38
Chernobyl ................................................16, 42, 44, 46, 51
Chitemene system...................................................... 23, 30
Christopher Columbus..................................................... 39
climate........................................... 5, 12, 13, 14, 30, 37, 47
CO2 ...............................................................18, 34, 45, 49
cold deserts .........................................................12, 13, 48
Council ...................................................................... 57, 61
Dark Continent ................................................................ 39
deforestation ... 4, 10, 13, 19, 21, 23, 24, 51, 52, 53, 54, 61
Degradation ..................................................................... 16
desert...................................... 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 20
Desertification..........................................6, 14, 18, 20, 53
Development.............................................................. 52, 64
disorders..................................................................... 43, 45
dust pneumonia.............................................................. 15
dust storms ..................................................................... 13
ecosystem13, 16, 19, 20, 38, 39, 41, 44, 45, 48, 49, 53, 54
Environmental .............. 2, 9, 18, 44, 50, 54, 55, 57, 61, 64
environmental management. ............................................. 8
equatorial ................................................................... 10, 26
exterminate ...................................................................... 51
fauna .......................................................................... 11, 39
flooding ...................................................13, 15, 16, 52, 53
flora............................................................................ 11, 39
forests.....10, 12, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 26, 27, 29, 34, 39, 46,
47, 49, 51, 52, 53
GAMMA RAYS.............................................................. 40
Hazardous waste........................................................ 41, 51
Heat waves....................................................................... 48
hot deserts................................................................. 12, 47
impact .......4, 10, 11, 13, 21, 22, 23, 24, 42, 52, 53, 55, 56
industrial revolution ..................................................... 55
inequilibrium....................................................... 45, 49, 54
inexhaustible ................................................................... 38
Kafue weed......................................................... 55, 56, 57
Kalahari ..................................................... 9, 11, 15, 17, 47
Kambule stream............................................................ 18
landscape ...........................................10, 16, 19, 20, 52, 53
Mass production............................................................ 55
Mulobezi ................................................................... 16, 17
nomadic ........................................................................... 12
Oasis ................................................................................ 17
Ozone ...................................................... 14, 40, 46, 47, 48
Political........................................................................ 9, 54
pollution 13, 14, 15, 37, 38, 39, 41, 42, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48,
49, 50, 51, 52, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58
posterity........................................................... 5, 18, 19, 37
Reforestation...................................................... 17, 20, 53
Rio de Jenairo Earth summit......................................... 6
Sarcophagus .................................................................... 42
Savannah grassland ...................................................... 10
Savannah woodland...................................................... 10
scientist........................................................................ 5, 48
Siltation ..................................................................... 15, 53
SO2............................................................................ 18, 47
socio-economic pressures ............................................. 14
susceptible ................................................................ 15, 16
urbanisation............................................. 10, 13, 21, 22, 24
Vasco Da Gama............................................................... 39
weather ....................... 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 20, 34, 40, 47, 49
Zambezi River ......................................................... 10, 56
The Desertification advent Billy C Sichone 63
.l´¹¯ ¯!! .¹¯!´!
Billy Sichone trained as an Accountant and worked as a Program Accountant at one of
World Vision International-Zambia’s large scale Area Development Programs (ADP) for
seven years. He has held other portfolios but is presently a Program Manager. He
studied the Zambia Diploma in Accountancy, is a Fellow of the Institute of Financial
Accountants (IFA, UK) a licentiate member of the Zambia Institute of Certified
Accountants (ZICA) and holds an MBA.
He is married to Jane and they have a daughter together.
Among his interests are studying, reading, studying, photography, research, writing,
poultry, art, meeting people, astronomy, cycling, Environmental issues, and adventure. In
keeping with his interests, he has produced several DVDs, books and is a public speaker
Visit his u tube site on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2vu-QE0Oj4
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