Zimbabwe — Government has been called upon to tackle head on the problems of veldt fires to reduce the continued loss of humans, animals and property as the dry season which is normally associated with such hazards approaches.
People who spoke to ZBC News called for stiffer penalties on perpetrators noting that nothing has been done so far to deter those who wantonly start fires.
The veldt fires are still occurring despite laws promulgated by government to curb the problem.
In most cases, those who are found guilty always go scot-free or are made to pay paltry fines.
Environment and Natural Resources Management Minister Francis Nhema admitted that the impact of veld fires on the countrys human life, flora and fauna is unbearable, adding that its time people change their attitude by avoiding negligence and activities that cause veld fires.
We are urging the community to be very careful in avoiding the occurrences of veld fires. Those who start veld fires are from the community and our mission should be to promote sustainable management of natural resources and protection of the environment with community participation, he said.
Cde Nhema said it is the duty of every member of the community to safeguard natural resources on which the future and present generations depend.
Causes of veldt fire include bee smoking, hunting of mice and reckless throwing of cigarette stubs while the absence of fireguards in have made the situation worse.
At least 21 people died last year as a result veld fires, while thousands of hectares of vegetation and plantations were also lost.