106 ar­rested for wood poaching

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

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

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