Harare residents have raised concern over the destruction of wetlands by land developers calling on relevant authorities to declare Harare a wetlands city.
A local environmental pressure group, Harare Wetlands Trust (HWT) has since engaged the Ministry of Environment, climate Change, Tourism and International Trade to put forward submissions on wetlands protection.
In its statement yesterday, HWT raised alarm over “the serious violation of the law that is leading to destruction of wetlands in Harare.”
The organisation urged government to strengthen and reform legislation with regards to the protection of wetlands, citing loopholes in the Environmental Management Act which allows for development on wetlands in the event that an Environmental Impact Assessment certificate being issued by the Environmental Management Agency.
The HWT told government to declare Harare a wetlands city.
The organisation has also partnered with the Environmental Management Agency to update the Harare Wetlands Map.
Of late the Environmental Management Agency has been issuing a lot of Environmental Impact Assessment certificates that have paved the way for construction on wetlands yet almost all the open spaces left in Harare are wetland areas.
Due to continued wetlands destruction in Harare, siltation of the capital’s main water source, Lake Chivero has rapidly increased.
Wetlands destruction has also come with huge costs on water purification.
The newly appointed tourism and environment minister Mangaliso Ndlovu has joined the chorus announcing that construction on wetlands ‘is something that certainly can not be allowed to continue’.
“I do not think it is sustainable to continue building on wetlands. The President has also been very clear on the need to protect our wetlands and we also need to enforce the legislation that we have to make sure we protect our wetlands. We will make our best efforts to bring critical stakeholders to the table so that we come up with an agreed position on wetlands protection,” said Minister Ndlovu.