106 arrested for wood poaching
to environmental degradation and climate change.
Poaching of wood is necessitated by demand for firewood in urban areas such as Bulawayo and wood carving in Victoria Falls and Binga.
“A total of 106 people have been arrested for wood poaching in Matabeleland North province between July and this November as wood poaching activities escalate,” said Mr Tembo.
He added: “The worst affected areas are Chesa Forest in Umguza, Ngamo and Sikumi forests in Lupane as well as some parts of Bubi District.
Most of the poaching takes place to produce firewood which has a ready market in Bulawayo where the urban population is heavily affected by load shedding.” The province is rich is timber. Mr Tembo said as a result of wood poaching, stretches of forests were being destroyed.
He bemoaned laxity in conservation laws where villagers and poachers have free access to forests.
Local authorities monitor forests through Campfire programmes while the Environmental Management Agency also enforces some laws.
Mr Tembo added: “Wood poaching is also on the rise in areas such as Hwange, Victoria Falls and Binga where wood carving is brisk business.”
Those arrested have appeared in different courts where they have been separately charged.
Currently the crime attracts a fine of $20 and there are calls on law enforcement agents to revise the penalty upwards to dissuade would be offenders.—@ncubeleon
Iminyela suburb residents queue at a house in the area as the Bulawayo water crisis continues unabated despite the recent rains received in the city