Zela Head of Research and Development, Shamiso Mtisi, told a Copac Environmental Thematic review meeting in Harare last week that measures had to be put in place to address the situation before further damage was done to both the ecosystem and local livelihoods.
“Soil, water, air and the genetic potential of plants are almost largely exhausted, putting livelihoods at risk,” said Mtisi, at the meeting convened to discuss the current Copac draft constitution on how it incorporated environmental issues.
“Environmental and ecological issues have not been adequately addressed, if not ignored, in the Lancaster House Constitution, the legal and heavily-patched document that Zimbabwe has largely adopted since Independence,” said Mtisi.
Projects Manager for the Chiredzi-based Earth Healing Association, Gladman Chibhememe, said ethanol production in Chisumbanje and diamond mining activities in Marange were some of the major contributors of pollution for the Save river.
He said the new constitution must address community perspectives on natural resource conservation.
The Save valley conservancies have also been badly affected by poachers who were targeting the wildlife, especially the rhino population which continues to be decimated by bio-piracy activities in the South East Lowveld.