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2012 environmental outlook optimistic

The realisation helped stir the nation into action, which saw numerous environmental campaigns being launched. As the journey into 2012 commences, it is hoped that the momentum gathered in the preceding year will be carried through and not be allowed to die down, as the future of our environment depends on it.

StandardEnvironment set out to record some of the initiatives of the numerous local organisations that were “hands-on” last year working on different projects to bring some relief to the battered environment and find out their plans for the year ahead.

Miracle Missions, a non-profit-making organisation with a special interest in the environment, was most notable for their vigorous clean-up campaign, which ran for the whole of 2011.

Working closely with the Environment ministry, Environment Management Agency (EMA), Environment Africa, Harare City Council and different environmental organisations, they went to great lengths to make the public aware of the filthy state of the country and the need to clean-up and maintain a healthy environment.

They managed to rope into the campaign a number of corporate organisations, which saw Delta Beverages, Kingdom Bank and Avis, among others, committing themselves to the cause.

With cooperation from the corporate world, the campaign saw a number of refuse bins being provided at various locations around Harare, helping ease the pressure on the overwhelmed council facilities, which have largely proved insufficient.

Asked about their plans for 2012, Jacquie Anderson, spokesperson for Miracle Missions, had this to say: “2011 was a good year; it was a good start to bringing sanity back in the nation. We are still going forward with the clean-up campaign and this year we are taking it beyond Harare.”

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) however, had a different tale to tell. The organisation, which has a special interest in the preservation of natural resources, bemoaned the rampant abuse of resources for personal gain, and in particular, pointed to the ongoing killing of wild animals which has seen wildlife numbers dwindling to worrying levels.

Especially worrying, said ZCTF chairman Johnny Rodrigues, are the elephants that continue to be slaughtered for ivory.
Rodrigues added that the continuing invasion of wildlife sanctuaries like the Chiredzi Conservancy was regrettable as it was contributing heavily to wildlife depletion.

“It will not go away until we all have the willpower to conserve the resources for our future generations,” said Rodrigues on the rampant wildlife poaching.

Maybe owing to the 17th conference of parties (Cop-17) that took pace in Durban, South Africa, late last year, people have been awoken to the reality of climate change and global warming.

Maxwell Kanotunga, a climate change activist working with Greenpeace, noted: “Although we still face some resistance as we still have people who fail to understand the importance of the environment, 2011 saw an increased awareness of the phenomenon of global warming and climate change.”

On his plans for 2012, Kanotunga said: “I will continue with climate change awareness campaigns and this year we will concentrate on teaching adaptation measures as people need to adapt to the changes. Plans of establishing a climate change youth club are also in the pipeline.”

Deforestation, on the other hand, has been identified as a major environmental problem that has had devastating effects on the state of the environment in the country. This has resulted in indigenous trees fast disappearing.

In their attempts to nip the problem in the bud, Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe (FCZ) came in with an aggressive tree-planting campaign. They targeted at planting 10 million trees for the 2011 season, although we cannot yet ascertain how successful the drive was until the planting season comes to an end in April.

FCZ information and communication manager, Violet Makoto said: “We will try as hard as we can to continue pushing for tree-planting exercises on all the environmental days on our calendar.”

These are some of the environmental organisations that worked tirelessly in 2011 to bring some relief to the environment.
Still a lot more could not be included due to space constraints while others could not be reached for comment. But for everyone who did one positive thing or the other for the environment last year, your efforts did not go unnoticed.
We hope to see you go a step further in 2012. Wish you the very best.

 

BY CHIPO MASARA

 

For feedback, contact me at cmasara@standard.co.zw

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