Wetland reclamation plan on the cards

by | Aug 26, 2021 | Local News | 0 comments

Nevanji Munyaradzi Chiondegwa

Government will soon designate all wetlands as areas unsuitable for human settlement and gazette all ecologically sensitive wetlands in a new proposed plan carried in the National Wetlands Policy and Guidelines.

These impending measures were announced by Information, Broadcasting and Publicity Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa. “Cabinet considered and approved the proposed National Wetlands Policy and Guidelines, which were presented by Honourable Vice President C.D.G.N. Chiwenga as Chairman of the Enhanced Cabinet Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

This after it was discovered that the number of families settled on wetlands or irregular settlements stands at 31 257.
Government intends to provide alternative accommodation for the households before the end of 2021, since the construction of flat apartments for the relocation exercise is now under way at various sites.

The approved Policy will guide wetlands management for incorporation in development planning by Government, the private sector and development partners, Traditional Leaders, communities and individuals.
The Policy will facilitate the establishment of an effective and efficient institutional and legal framework for integrated management, and enhance capacity building within relevant institutions involved in the management of wetlands.

The approved policy will see Government designating all wetlands as areas that are unsuitable for settlement, gazette all ecologically sensitive wetlands, undertake orderly relocation of people in order to pave way for the rehabilitation of wetlands, and enforce the requirement for Environmental Management Agency certification for any developments in sensitive wetlands.

There shall be efficient measures for waste management from point of source, with stiff penalties being imposed for the offence of discharging waste into wetlands.

Government shall establish wetland education centres countrywide, set up functional local wetland management institutions, restore the powers of Traditional Leaders in wetland management, and strengthen legislation to protect various habitats found on wetlands.

Government will also intensify the development of climate change mitigation measures to safeguard wetlands, establish and develop recreation and eco-tourism facilities for sustainable wetland management, and promote efficient techniques and technologies for crop and livestock production on wetlands where these activities are considered appropriate.

Treasury will avail in tranches the resources required to kick-start the rehabilitation of 20 wetlands, 2 per province, before the onset of the 2021/2022 rainfall season.