Zimbabwe — Government has intensified education campaigns to minimise veld fires, which destroy large tracts of land during the winter season every year.
Launching the campaign in Mashonaland East yesterday, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Francis Nhema urged villagers in the province to play a leading role in preventing uncontrolled fires.
He said lack of education and human carelessness contributed to fire outbreaks that destroy large tracts of land during the dry winter season every year.
“People must be highly educated on the dangers of veld fires and how to prevent them for some of these fires are caused by our carelessness and lack of adequate education,” he said.
“What people do not know is that the medication they get from the hospitals comes from these trees they are burning down.
“It was going to be better if we had totems like grass and trees, that way people were going to respect these resources and would stop the veld fires,” he said.
Hunters, smokers and farmers were said to be the main culprits behind veld fires.
Mashonaland East Governor and Resident Minister Aeneas Chigwedere said the years 2004 and 2005 saw the most veld fires, with 10 925 351 hectares and 11 508 587 hectares of land being destroyed. He this said in a speech read by Acting Governor Mr Cuthbert Ndarukwa.
This was the second awareness campaign launch by Minister Nhema inside two days after one for Mashonaland West in Kadoma on Wednesday.
The educational campaigns coincided with National Fire Week, which is running under the theme “Stop Burning Our Heritage, Prevent Veld Fires”.