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Monavale residents oppose building of cluster houses in vlei

Local News
Monavale wetland

MONAVALE residents in Harare have petitioned the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) over 105 cluster homes to be built on a vlei or wetland in their community.

A vlei is a low-lying, marshy ground, covered with water during the rainy season.

In a petition last week, the residents said the Monavale Vlei was under threat of development if the construction of houses were to be approved.

“Again, it has been proposed that 105 cluster homes be built on this important wetland, which is recognised as Ramsar Site and a key player. Building on Monavale Vlei will destroy it. We need to stop this,” the petition read.

The petition highlighted that approving the building of houses was going to worsen Harare city’s water crisis.

“Like these places, the Monavale Vlei plays an essential role in refilling rivers and water tables. Monavale Vlei feeds river systems that feed into Lake Chivero. We need to stop this for several reasons like the impact on Harare’s water crisis. Monavale Vlei feeds river systems that feed into Lake Chivero — the city’s main water supply. Destruction of this wetland will have dramatic and lasting effects on Harare’s water, making a bad situation much worse,” the petition read.

“With buildings built on wetlands already suffering, it is clear why developing on a vlei is unwise. Monavale Vlei, like other wetlands, acts as a sponge which stops flooding. Protecting the Monavale Vlei from development will protect the surrounding residents from flood risk as well as water loss. We need to preserve this ecosystem for the role it plays in protecting Harare’s fragile water system, the biodiversity for its educational value and its important function in sequestering carbon.”

Ema spokesperson Amkela Sidange told NewsDay: “As an agency, we rely on documented issues. This is somebody who is planning to do a project, and as an agency we have not been notified through application. We have again not observed anything on the ground, and we are not in a position to confirm whether that project is there or not. The agency is there to protect wetlands.  For now we cannot deal with something that is not on paper.”

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