Harare’s Ward 30 councillor, Peter Moyo has rallied residents in his ward to block any form of illegal land grabs that come with negative impacts on the environment.
By Edgar Gweshe
Moyo blamed land grabs as well as illegal land allocations for being largely responsible for environmental degradation in Harare.
He was speaking during a community meeting on wetlands preservation organised by the Harare Wetlands Trust in Rugare high-density suburb on Wednesday.
“If you look at Rugare, you will find out that there has been minimal land invasions here because residents have united and said no to land grab,” Moyo said.
“I would like to urge you to continue with your resolve to ensure that land grabbers are stopped because they will destroy our environment if we do not stop them.
“On the issue of wetlands, we need to work collectively as residents to ensure that the wetlands are protected.
“It is commendable that we have volunteers who are willing to work to protect wetlands in this ward.”
He added that residents should be wary of rowdy politicians who used land as a campaign tool, especially during election periods.
Of late, wetlands — which are the major source of water for Harare — have been under threat owing to a number of factors and the Harare Wetlands Trust has launched a campaign aimed at mobilising community involvement in wetlands preservation.
Speaking during the Rugare meeting, senior environmental officer at the Harare City Council, Charles Mabika said the continued destruction of wetlands in Harare was a serious cause for concern.
“It is necessary that we preserve our wetlands and this requires concerted efforts from various stakeholders,” he said.
“Currently, our wetlands are under serious threat and this is a serious issue because wetlands destruction has direct impact on water availability.”
Research has shown that Lake Chivero, which provides water to Harare residents, is under threat as a result of siltation which emanates from wetlands destruction.
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority has also raised the red flag over the continued wetlands destruction in Harare, saying this was adversely affecting water levels in the capital.
An official from the Environmental Management Agency, Batsirai Sibanda told residents during the Rugare meeting that due processes should be followed before any form of land developments are undertaken as this will ensure protection of wetlands.