Somalilandsun- Police In Ainabo are holding 10 people in connection to illegal charcoal trade.
This was informed by the deputy governor Sarar Region, Nur Qasim Qodah during an interview telephone with www.somalilandsun.com While on inspection tour of Waridaad Centre.
“Apart from the 10 people in custody , 5 lorries have also been confiscated” said the administrator adding that those arrested are suspected of bankrolling charcoal burning as well as transportation.
Initially Sarar regional anti-charcoal burning operatives had detained six lorries but one was released after investigations proved non involvement in the trade.
According to the administrator only 75%of Sarar region residents remain with the remainder having been displaced due to effects related to charcoal burning.
Said he, “In lieu of the fact that the entire regional population is nomadic thence livelihoods directly sustained by livestock, the devastating effects of charcoal burning has been very severe”
Governor Nur Qasim says that the illegal charcoal burning trade funded by local and foreign based tycoons has had a devastating effect on the environment.
“Currently An area exceeding 200sq Km has been left barren after all trees were cut for charcoal” said the governor adding that this has ensued with failure of grass to grow as well as an almost near zero depletion of livestock and human watering holes”
With livestock as the main source of livelihood, poverty levels are increasing not to mention internal displacement of residents who are said to have decamped for other regions.
Sarar just like other eastern regions of somaliland is yet to recover from years of drought that if not for intervention by international humanitarian organizations and central government would have ended in total catastrophe.
Informing that the regional Administration in Ainabo with full support of the the central government in Hargeisa is determined to saving the environment , Nur Qasim informed that those trading in charcoal shall bear the brunt.
“While making the few engaged in cutting and subsequent burning for charcoal , cease is possible the problem is the tycoons bankrolling the operation”
To this effect the government is vigorously pursuing those suspected of financing the trees cutting and charcoal burning with a strong commitment to prosecution.
Said he, “Though it is Local Residents who are suffering from the short and long terms of these illegal environmental destructive activities , those benefiting are very wealthy individuals” Plans revealed indicate that those currently in custody shall be arraigned in court once investigations are completed and if found guilty not only shall they face severe punishment but have their vehicles impounded by the state as well.
Queried on the source of demand that is leading to destruction of environment in Sarar region of Somaliland, the Governor said that the United Arab Emirates is the main market.
As per transportation from producer to consumer, the administrator said the charcoal is shipped to Dubai via the Hobyo port in Somalia’s Puntland.
The charcoal is transported from the various production areas in Sarar region by transporters from Puntland an administrative region of somalia bordering Somaliland to the east.
“Once the trucks are loaded with their illegal cargo they embark to their Hobyo port destination via Garowe, the capital of Puntland” said the Governor.
To date the Sarar regional administration through an anti-charcoal burning team lead by deputy governor Nur Qasim Qodah conducted operations in several places.
“At present we are in Waridaad Centre for inspection and anti-tree Cutting and charcoal burning awareness raising” revealed Nur Qasim
Other areas where similar activities have been undertaken in Sarar region include Eel Samakal, Bari Arale, Gumbarah Hargeyo, Kalabayd, Eel Lehele and Hundur Gaal.
Stating that the ongoing operations are not geared to deny some few their source of livelihoods but one meant to conserve the environment which is succor for all, the administrator urge
In conclusion the regions administrator said “Residents and all are requested to support the anti-tree cutting and charcoal burning activities for in the long run all shall benefit.
Now as per facts, In the past fifteen years, in response to rising demand of charcoal consumption in urban areas of Somaliland, where biomass is the main energy source, charcoal production increased.
In this respect Acacia woodland resources were consumed faster than they regenerated, and though some areas like Salahley, Sabawanag, Adadley, Sheik and Odweine Districts, which cover the charcoal demands of Hargeisa, Burao and Berbera are most affected others are catching up in this devastation.
This is according to a case study conducted jointly by the somaliland ministry pastoral Development & environment and Candlelight for Health, Education & Environment organization.
The report indicates that “The involvement of the rural people in the charcoal production started in large-scale with the Saudi livestock export ban but it was confined to certain specific areas and later spread to all areas as charcoal became an important source of income to nomads.
This was encouraged by charcoal traders who provided the producers with the materials/tools necessary for charcoal production and supplies such as other supplies such as food, Qat, tobacco etc.
Though over a decade old, this study on Impact of Charcoal Production on Environment and the Socio Economy of Pastoral communities of Somaliland, needs updating to bring prevalent status to light. Read more
On the other hand, Insufficient cheaper alternatives and a large former refugee population are fuelling tree-felling and dependence on charcoal in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, adversely affecting the environment.
This is According to a 2007 study by the Academy for Peace and Development, which revealed that more than 2.5 million trees are felled annually and burned for charcoal in Somaliland. The report stated that each household in Somaliland consumed an equivalent of 10 trees a month. Read More
With the internal demand for charcoal attributed to this large scale devastation of the environment then one would not fail to wonder on impact of external demand, now the in thing.