BY VANESSA GONYE

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) this year rejected over 15 projects on wetlands as it sought to safeguard wetlands in the country.

In a statement, EMA spokesperson Amkela Sidange urged the public not to buy stands in ecologically-sensitive areas without authority from the agency.

“Most of these rejected projects are in Harare and include Blacks Housing Trust in Greencroft, Charly Car Wash in the Grange area, Craftlight Truck Inn in Msasa, subdivision of Subdivision C of Greengrove, subdivision of remainder of municipal plot in Belvedere, subdivision of remainder of Strathaven Township station, Takaitanga Housing Co-operative in Budiriro, Totonga in Budiriro, Motherland Housing in Budiriro, Vee Housing in Budiriro and Vivo Energy Churchill Service Station in Alexandra Park, just to mention a few,” Sidange said.

“Also, the agency has issued several tickets and environmental protection orders, including opening court cases for local authorities and individuals to prohibit wetland degradation,” she said.

The agency, Sidange said, was currently working on gazetting all ecologically sensitive areas in line with section 113 of Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27), for the City of Harare and Chitungwiza Municipality, to ring-fence wetlands as protected areas and this would come with ecologically sensitive area maps for the two local authorities.

“The agency carries out ecological assessments for free. However, the agency does not allocate land, but only ensures that any proposed development is ecologically sound, socially acceptable and environmental safe,” she said.

She discouraged the public, given that the rainy season is approaching, from cultivating on wetlands or along streambanks.

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