By Tendai Guvamombe
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has come under fire for allowing the invasion of wetlands by property developers.
On Wednesday 9 January 2019, the City of Harare in conjunction with Harare Wetlands Trust (HWT) and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) jointly toured various suburbs of Harare to assess progress made on the disputed wetlands in the wake of calls to stop further invasions.
During the joint tour, EMA representatives dismally failed to provide adequate responses enough to the fielded questions.
Borrowdale, University of Zimbabwe (UZ), Marlborough and Monavale among others were spotted to have shown a less significant move in the mitigation of wetlands invasion.
Norman Makondo, Budiriro Ward 43 Councilor, demanded clarity on the basis of issuance of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) to wetlands invaders.
“EMA should come clear on what determines wetlands and how is it possible in some instances that they as environmental agency issue EIAs to the wetlands invaders when actually they would have earlier rejected applications on the basis of conserving wetlands.”
In light of this view EMA’s controversial move was also spotted when they authorised a wetland in Borrowdale to a land developer whose application bid had been previously turned down.
Robson Mahondo, who tried to justify EMA’s position, alleged that their environmental agency ACT permits a declined application to find further appeal via the legal route.
“People should visit environmental agency ACT which is clear on these issues. It permits aggrieved persons to launch an application to the courts and beyond that level we cannot object the court’s judgment.”
Gilbert Magunzva, the EMA Ecosystems Protection and Solid Waste Management Officer issued a ridiculous statement to justify the construction of Thuli Petroleum Service Station on a wetland in Kambuzuma which is reported to be disposing fuel sludge into the wetland streams.
“Can we remove it when in actual fact it is benefiting local community in many ways? We have already inspected it.”
Harare Wetlands Trust which has been extremely working hard to mitigate invasion of marshes in the capital city vows to continue engaging responsible authorities to jealously safeguard wetlands.
Wetlands are beneficial to local communities manly in the fight against global warming and provisions of safe and clean water.