Mpumalanga Agriculture MEC Vusi Shongwe has urged KwaMhlanga residents not to take trees for granted because they are important.

Shongwe was addressing the residents during an Arbor Week celebration recently.

He said it was important for everyone to learn about the role trees play in our environment.

“Trees play a vital role in addressing climate change and air pollution. They clean our air, protect our drinking water, support biodiversity, create healthy communities as well as add grace and beauty to our homes.”

Shongwe said there’s a need to plant and maintain indigenous trees throughout the country, especially for the many residents who often live in dry areas.

“Growing your own fruit tree or orchard in your backyard will create socio-economic and environmental benefits,” said Shongwe.

He said although Arbor Week has been celebrated for more than 100 years, it’s relevance today is as strong as it was when it was first celebrated.

“I’m encouraging you to support our efforts to plant trees and green our country,” he said.

More than 1 000 trees will be planted around the province.