Zimbabwe: Efforts to Curb Veld Fires Intensify – Nhema

Zimbabwe: Efforts to Curb Veld FiresIntensify – Nhema

29 August 2006

published by http://allafrica.com/

EFFORTS to curb veld fires by raising public awareness and mobilising resources to fight the menace have been intensified.

Environment and Tourism Minister Cde Francis Nhema last week said the National Fire Protection Strategy and Implementation Plan (NFPSI) had formulated a comprehensive legal framework for effective management of fires.

He said through NFPSI, the government would be working with different responsible authorities for an effective implementation of fire protection strategy.

“In communal areas we have been working with chiefs, headmen and land users.

“The chiefs, as the custodians of natural resources in their areas of jurisdiction, have been helping us by taking a leading role in educating people and effecting appropriate legislative provisions on violators of the law,” the minister said.

He added that the continued incidences of veld fires was an indication that there was an urgent need to raise more educational awareness for effective fire management.

NFPSI targets training those in authorities at village, district and provincial level so that they can be able to make fire guard preparations.

“Training leaders at different levels, sensitises them on issues like fire detection, raising alarm and creating fire manpower organisations,” said Cde Nhema who took a swipe at smokers who throw away smouldering cigarette stubs and consequently start fierce veld fires.

He also blamed lenient penalties on offenders as contributing immensely to veld fire incidences and urged the responsible authority to review from time to time the penalties for non-compliance.

“My ministry has also established that veld fires are also caused by inadequate information. Most landowners do not know that before starting fire on their property they should inform the police and their neighbours 14 days earlier so that precaution can be taken,” he said.

Early this month, the Environmental Management Agency of Zimbabwe submitted proposals to the Attorney General’s Office proposing fines to be raised to $25 000 in an attempt to deter people from starting veld fires. These have the potential of causing extensive damage to the environment and have claimed a number of lives recently.


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