This came out during a community meeting organized by the Harare Wetlands Trust in Budiriro, Ward 33 on Wednesday.
The meeting was attended by Ward 33 residents who are part of the Local Environmental Action Plan (LEAP) programme which is a local plan developed for the management of the environment.
Residents who spoke during the meeting blamed politics and abuse of power for wetlands destruction saying politicians were in the habit of using land as a tool to win elections.
Lack of knowledge among locals was also cited as being among the factors leading to wetlands destruction in Harare.
“It is necessary that once we identify wetlands that we need to protect in this area, we should ensure that we put measures that will guard against invasion or any form of destruction. Fencing such areas is critical to ensure they are not tampered with,” said a resident.
An official from EMA, Batsirai Sibanda pledged to support the community’s efforts in preserving wetlands adding that capacity building trainings were necessary to ensure communities are educated on the importance of wetlands.
Wetlands are the major sources of water for Harare and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) has expressed concern that their destruction has led to water levels drastically falling in Harare.
The Harare Wetlands Trust is currently mobilizing Harare residents to actively participate in wetlands preservation.
Ward 33 Councilor, Oddrey Chirombe said community involvement in wetlands preservation was quite critical.
“As you might all be aware, Harare is facing serious water challenges and the destruction of wetlands means the problem will worsen if we do not take preventive action. It is thus incumbent upon us as residents to ensure we complement efforts being made to preserve water sources in Harare,” said Chirombe.
The Harare City Council has also pledged its support towards preservation of wetlands in Harare.
Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Ramsar Convention on the protection of wetlands and the country has seven internationally recognized sites.
Wetlands are protected under the country’s Environmental Management Act.Post published in: Featured