At least 1,5 million hectares of land went up in smoke in 2015 while 88 people were killed by veld fires in the last five years, Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo has said.
BY xolisani ncube
Speaking at an anti-veld fire campaign in Zvimba North on Monday, Chombo said millions of dollars worth of property was being destroyed by avoidable fire.
“In support of this initiative, the police are also conducting awareness programmes to curb veld fires. We need to take advantage of the benefit from the tall grass in our areas by undertaking hay bailing and harvesting thatch grass for commercial purposes,” he said.
Chombo said land degradation, veld fires, loss of biodiversity, desertification, climate charge, silted rivers and dams were on the increase due to human activities.
“In light of this observation, it is important for governments to adopt effective strategies for environment protection and management,” he said.
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) trained 115 villagers in Zvimba under the Integrated Community Environmental Training programme which was aimed at preserving natural resources at grassroots level.
Participants underwent training in beekeeping and rearing quail birds, among other environment-friendly initiatives.
EMA education and publicity manager Steady Kangata said by undertaking projects such as beekeeping and the rearing of quail birds, communities would better understand the importance of maintaining the ecosystem.
Participants in the Integrated Environmental Training programme were provided with seed capital to kickstart some of the projects that help preserve the ecosystem.