Zimbabwe – The Environment Management Agency has started burning and clearingroad verges along the Harare-Chirundu to prevent veld fires.
The pilot programme seeks to prevent and establish whethermotorists who threw out cigarette stubs were causing veld fires.
The process involves burning grass, which is likely tocatch fire along the road.
In an interview yesterday, EMA Mashonaland Westspokesperson Mrs Vimbaishe Siziba said the programme that began on Monday, wouldrun for a week.
“We have so far covered some ground and hope to havecleared grass on road verges up to Harare from Chinhoyi in the first phase andthen work on the Chinhoyi-Chirundu stretch,” she said.
She said the programme was being conducted in conjunctionwith the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
“It started from Westgate in Harare. Burning istaking place between 6.30am and 11am and 1500 and 1600 hours so motorists arebeing warned that there might be reduced visibility from smoke during theexercise,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Management Agency will at theend of the month ban burning especially in the newly resettled areas where veldfires have resulted in the destruction of the environment, an official saidyesterday.
Addressing mining and engineering stakeholders at aone-day Mine Entra Conference, EMA director of Environment Protection, MrSibhekile Mthethwa said the ban would be effective from 31 July.
“We are at a stage where we are moving to increaseproduction while sustaining our environment. This is not the period where we aremaximising production at the expense of the environment,” said Mr Mthethwa.
He said people living on A1 and A2 farms had beenconstantly burning the veld in the name of clearing land while they weredestroying the environment.
“As from the 31st of this month no burning will beallowed unless you have been given a special clearance by our officers,” hesaid.
Mr Mthethwa said veld fires would attract punitivepenalties that they were still finalising. He said EMA was now using theConsumer Pricing Index to revise its penalties as a way of curbing environmentaldegradation.
“We are now using the CPI to review the penalties,this is a strict move but will not throw you out of the business. It is toensure that our environment is protected and economic development is realised,”said Mr Mthethwa.