As the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) fights hard to contain environmental pollution and degradation, the agency finds itself surrounded by a mammoth task following a rapid spread of a deadly plant called Opuntia fulgida, which is believed to be a danger to flora and fauna.
EMA spokesperson Steady Kangata on Friday said the plant, which he described as an invasive alien species, is spreading fast in Gwanda and Beitbridge and encroaching into Bulilima and Insiza districts.
According to EMA, the whole province was likely to be invaded by the plant since it thrives in low-rainfall areas.
“The plant doesn’t allow for survival of other plant species. Once it grows in an area, it spreads fast, dominating other plant species thereby colonising the area. It has a negative effect to the growth of other plants and also affects pastures,” said Kangata.
Kangata said livestock died soon after their mouths were pricked by the plant’s thorns.
“There are campaigns we are doing to alert the people about the dangers associated with the plant. We also carry out workshops to educate the people about the plant,” said Kangata.
On July 14 and 15, EMA in commemoration of World Environment Day, conducted a tour in parts of the province affected by the deadly plant as part of its awareness campaign.