Zimbabwe — The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has launched veld fire campaigns and educational programmes to reduce veld fires that have become a serious environmental and human threat.
EMA Education and Publicity Manager, Mr Steady Kangata said following the loss of 16 lives and more than 1 million hectares to veld fires last year, it is important for all Zimbabweans to fight against veld fires which have destroyed flora and fauna.
He said the agency has already started veld fire campaigns throughout the country, adding that now is the time for Zimbabweans to start preparing fireguards.
It is incumbent to every Zimbabwean to guard against veld fires. With the help of communities, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and EMA, veld fires can be reduced for this coming fire season. There should be more intensive law enforcement measures that ensure deterrent measures to offenders, Mr Kanata said.
Mr Kangata said all stakeholders should strategise towards the formation of fire-fighting teams as well and fireguards as the rain season comes to an end.
Stakeholders, including villagers should participate as a team in fire-fighting and this will reduce loss of wildlife and protect our environment, he added.
Analysts say despite efforts by government to reduce veld fires, not much has been achieved.
They say people should be responsible by protecting wildlife and the environment by preventing veld fires.
Statutory Instrument 7 of 2007 states that no person is allowed to light a fire outside residential and commercial premises from the 31st of May to 31st of October each year.
Causes of veld fires include reckless disposal of lit cigarette stubs, land clearing, improper household ash disposal and lighting of fires at roadsides as people wait for early morning buses.