‘Don’t ig­nore en­vi­ron­ment issues’

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Manicaland & Mashonaland East News - Takudzwa Chi­w­ereweshe Mutare Cor­re­spon­dent

DE­VEL­OP­MENT part­ners should pri­ori­tise en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­gram­ming in or­der to ad­dress so­cio-eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges that Man­i­ca­land Prov­ince is fac­ing, an of­fi­cial has said.

Speak­ing at a first quar­ter de­vel­op­ment review meet­ing held in Mutare re­cently, Man­i­ca­land pro­vin­cial ad­min­is­tra­tor Mr Edgars Seenza ex­pressed con­cern over the ten­dency by duty bear­ers to ne­glect en­vi­ron­men­tal issues by leav­ing them out in their pro­gram­ming.

“There is a trend in which of­fice bear­ers over­look en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment with the as­sump­tion that they are not as im­por­tant as other eco­nomic or so­cial issues for­get­ting that poor en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment com­pro­mises the qual­ity of life and is also re­spon­si­ble for wors­en­ing eco­nomic woes af­flict­ing our prov­ince,” Mr Seenza said.

He added that poor en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment af­fected liveli­hoods and es­ca­lated poverty.

“Abuse of the en­vi­ron­ment com­pro­mises the qual­ity of life while com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of re­sources has re­sulted in the pol­lu­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment to a point where liveli­hoods have been de­stroyed.

“Cases that come to mind in­clude pol­lu­tion of Sakubva River and the Chi­adzwa area. Poor man­age­ment of our en­vi­ron­ment has been proven to es­ca­late poverty as peo­ple end up de­stroy­ing the en­vi­ron­ment in­stead of ben­e­fit­ing from it,” said Mr Seenza.

He added that there were cases of peo­ple dis­card­ing lit­ter on the streets, as well as com­pa­nies dis­charg­ing ef­flu­ent into wa­ter sources af­fect­ing its qual­ity and pos­ing se­ri­ous health risks to com­mu­ni­ties.

In an in­ter­view, Mutare City coun­cil pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer Mr Spren Mtiwi (pic­tured be­low) said coun­cil re­garded en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment as of pri­mary im­por­tance, as ev­i­denced by the en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly ini­tia­tives and in­ter­ven­tions they were un­der­tak­ing.

“We have em­barked on a mas­sive clean-up campaign. We are try­ing to deal with the issues of pol­lu­tion and refuse col­lec­tion around the city.

“With re­gards to Sakubva River, we in­ter­vened and as most res­i­dents know, the river is heav­ily pol­luted since some com­pa­nies were us­ing it as a dis­charge point. We have man­aged to stop some of the cul­prits from this prac­tice but it is still an on­go­ing process”, he said.

Pro­vin­cial so­cial wel­fare of­fi­cer Mrs Char­ity Ndadzun­gira com­mended au­thor­i­ties such as the En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Agency for cul­ti­vat­ing good en­vi­ron­men­tal prac­tices in com­mu­ni­ties as well as reg­u­lat­ing and mon­i­tor­ing hu­man pro­cesses to en­sure that they did not af­fect the en­vi­ron­ment on a large scale.

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