“Stop land invasions to save wetlands”

A cross section of Harare residents have implored authorities to act on the issue of illegal allocation of land for housing and industrial purposes as the development was largely responsible for the destruction of wetlands in the capital.

The call by the residents comes at a time the Harare Wetland Trust has intensified efforts to ensure the involvement of locals in the preservation of wetlands within their vicinities.

The Trust is mobilizing residents to be part of Local Environment Action Plans (LEAPs) which are local plans that local authorities develop for the management of the environment within areas under their jurisdiction.

So far, training programmes aimed at mobilizing residents to join the LEAPs have been held in high density areas such as Rugare, Dzivarasekwa and Glen View.

On Thursday, Glen View residents said that wetlands in their area were under threat mainly due to illegal land occupations for housing purposes.

“Land barons are the biggest threat to the survival of wetlands in our area. Most of the wetlands here have been invaded for housing purposes. As residents, we feel we can contribute to the preservation of the wetlands through educational programmes as well as working with policy makers hence our decision to be part of the Local Environmental Action Plans,” said a resident identified as Majorie Sande.

Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Wetlands are protected under the country’s Environmental Management Act, Chapter 20:27.

Ramsar sites in Zimbabwe include the Monavale Vlei, Cleveland Dam, Mana Pools, Lake Chivero, Driefontein Grasslands, Chinhoyi Caves and the Victoria Falls National Park.

Of late, wetlands in Zimbabwe have been under threat due to residential and industrial development projects which are often implemented without paying regard to the need to preserve the important water sources.

Recently, Monavale Vlei East was partially developed by yet to be identified individuals.

Another Glen View resident said there was need to ensure the law takes its course in the preservation of wetlands.

“The major threat to wetlands is the fact that there is no respect for the rule of law hence our decision as residents to work collectively and engage authorities so that water sources are preserved for the good of everyone not a few individuals,’ said another resident, Robson Charuma.

According to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) wetlands destruction is negatively affecting water availability in Harare.

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Post published in: Environment