Climate/Environment

Senate bemoan indiscriminate land degradation

MIDWEEK REPORTER

HARARE- Senators have raised concern over massive land degradation across the country perpetrated by artisanal miners and mining companies who do not abide by environmental and mining regulations.

Debating a motion on rehabilitation of open mines by artisanal miners moved by Senator Solani Moyo recently in the August House, MPs said the rate at which land is being degraded with little or no benefit to local communities is worrisome.

Senator Mbohwa said more open pits in Zvishavane are posing danger to cattle, expressing fear that the situation will be worse in 10 years time if left unattended.

“If you go to Zvishavane for example, you will find a lot of abandoned open pits and you see cattle roaming about and you wonder what will be the situation in 10 years time. 

She added that miners and community members must be brought to a negotiating table to discuss issues on community projects and land reclamation.

“My request is the community projects empowerment or shareholding must be brought back so that they are empowered to be part of the negotiation process and air their views and also educated on handling of disused pits.

“Right now they are not involved in the negotiation process at the initial stage.  Who are you going to ask?  When they leave, they just go and you have no one to ask. 

Masvingo Senator Rabson Mavenyengwa weighed in saying miners need to reclaim the land where they extract minerals to avoid exposing people and animals to danger.

“Anyone who wants to venture into mining must ensure that they reclaim the area where they will be mining. This is because we realise that as soon as they finish extracting the minerals, some of them do not consider rehabilitating the environment.

“They should consider that the area may endanger human beings or their livestock as most of them just extract minerals and do not cover the pits,” Senator Mavenyengwa said.

For Senator Zvidzai, the destruction of the environment by mining investors without responsibility is disgusting.

“They open up the belly of the earth in Zvishavane and Shurugwi and they do not sow it back after extracting chrome. It is so sad that you see destruction of the environment without any responsibility at all.”

Senator Mohadi said, “In addition to the artisanal miners` activities, their activities are greatly affecting our livestock and the people living in the communities that they operate from. They leave open pits in the areas they operate from.”

The senators made a clarion call for the miners to plough back to communities they carry out their mining activities and reclaim the land.

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