LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The country’s environmental experts have expressed gratitude over Roads Authority (RA) being fined MK6.3 million for contravening laws by cutting down of over 1,000 trees along the Kenyatta Drive in the capital Lilongwe.

The Kenyatta Drive is being expanded to six lanes and this has led to the removal of 1,391 trees, including 317 Mibawa trees which are said to be worth MK2 billion.

On Friday, October 22, 2021 Malawi Environmental Protection Authority (MEPA) fined the Roads Authority MK6.3 million for failure to comply with an Environmental Protection Order (EPO) over the project.

Roads Authority has up to 30th Oct to pay the fine.

During its meeting on Friday, MEPA board also approved an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the road project.

Last week, environmentalists threatened to take court action against the RA for starting the road project without an ESIA report.

The activists were labelled noisemakers by some quarters who also accused the environmentalists of attempting to delay the road project for political reasons.

However, President of Association for Environmental Journalists Mathews Malata says his quest on the matter has been vindicated.

“None is against #chitukuko and none is above the law – Hi5. The issue was/is technical and not political.

“The improved ESIA might still have gaps but the key is to learn from this blunder and do better in the coming projects. How I wish the fine was paid by the careless decision makers and not from the tax payers’ pockets. Hopefully the sustainability plan is robust enough to make our garden city more resilient and beautiful,” wrote Malata.

The project has been facing hiccups as Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change also wants the initiative be stopped for contravening environmental laws.

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