DUHOK, Kurdistan Region — People in the village of Banki, near Duhok, have formed a council for the protection of the environment and men from the village guard their fragile forest day and night.
The mission is to stop logging, fires and other harm to the surrounding nature.
“We’re on duty here to protect the environment, the beauty of the country and Kurdistan's trees,” Emran Fatah, a village guard told Rudaw. “It is not acceptable to cut down trees.”
Fatah said that the villagers use the forest for firewood “but not the green ones.”
“We take trees that are dry and dead which are fine to burn to make a fire,” he explained. “If you cut down a big tree it may not grow back to what it was for another ten years.”
The people of this tiny Duhok village have formed a council for the protection of the environment.
“The loss of the environment is the loss of life,” said Saeed Safar Banki, the village tribal chief. “It is not only the duty of Bamarne forestry police to protect the environment, but my duty too. As an individual in this country, as a youth from Banka village, I must take care of my village.”
The mountains of Duhok are rich in trees, especially oak and kazan. Winter is when illegal loggers begin cutting down trees for firewood and to sell in the market.
“Sometime ago some people tried to cut down these trees and we knew about that, so we set up guards,” village head Nafaa Banki told Rudaw. “We prevent not only the cutting down of trees, but hunting too. We take care of the beautiful nature of our village. We ask other villagers to emulate and do what we are doing.”
Of Banki’s 1,000 population more than 143 men have signed up to guard the forest day and night.