Environmental damage is being seen in many parts of the country – particularly where human activities like quarrying and coal mining impact large areas of land and cause short term and long term damage. This includes soil erosion, dust, noise and water pollution, and damage to local biodiversity.
In response to the increase in negative environmental practices, Environment Africa founded the Zimbabwe Environment Lawyers Association with the vision of it becoming an independent organisation that would take up legal issues around the environment. ZELA has been operating independently for some 10 years and continues to have a strong links to Environment Africa.
Charlene Hewat, CEO of Environment Africa told concerned members, stakeholders and local community representatives that the two bodies were looking into jointly launching a Mining focused Green Fund that will engage the mining sector to look at solutions while monitoring and measuring the environmental impact of extractive industries.
ZELA is headed by MutusoDhliwayo, who holds a Masters Degree in Environment and Development from the University of KwaZulu Natal and a Bachelor of Laws Honours Degree from the University of Zimbabwe.
He has a special interest in promoting community participation in trans-boundary natural resources management initiatives through research and policy advocacy. He has worked with rural communities in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
ZELA is expected to participate in pre-planning projects, implementing pollution control measures, monitoring the effects of mining and rehabilitating mined areas. They will also ensure that mining and extractive companies minimise the impact of their activities on neighbouring communities, the immediate environment and on long-term land capability.
Hewat said it was the duty of government and private stakeholders to capacitate communities with knowledge on sustainable use of the environment to improve their livelihoods.
She emphasized the need to involve communities in rehabilitating the environment to facilitate compliance and resource mobilisation, citing mining as one of the major environmental threats in Southern Africa.Post published in: Environment