ENVIRONMENT, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Mangaliso Ndhlovu has claimed that 103 wetlands with a total area of 350 550 hectares have been put under sustainable management across the country to protect them.
Addressing journalists during commemorations of the World Wetlands Day in Harare yesterday, Ndhlovu said more such projects were yet to be implemented.
He said the World Wetlands Day theme for this year is It’s Time for Wetland Restoration, amplifies the urgent need for restoration of wetlands.
“Wetland restoration dovetails well with my ministry’s National Development Strategy 1 target of increasing areas of wetlands that are sustainably managed. It also resonates well and contributes towards the efforts to heal the planet as championed by the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration running between 2021 and 2030,” Ndhlovu said.
He said the country had a variety of wetlands that include flood plains, pans, swamps, dambos/vleis and artificial impoundments that occupy 34,96% of the country’s total area which is equivalent to 13 659 579 hectares.
“The country’s natural infrastructure is being threatened by unsustainable anthropogenic activities, which include overgrazing, cultivation, and infrastructural development coupled with climate change.
“During the development of the wetlands masterplan, it was found that, 17,63% of the wetlands are in a pristine condition, 55,65% moderately degraded and 26,72% severely degraded. In addition, government has already, through a gazette, declared wetland sites in urban and rural areas as Ecologically Sensitive Areas with a total area of 20 751,21 hectares in line with section 113 of the Environmental Management Act (CAP 20:27), where the limitations to their use may be imposed,” he said.
This year’s main World Wetlands Day commemorations will be held at Kasibo Wetland in Hwange district, Matabeleland North province, where rehabilitation efforts have resulted in fencing of the wetland core, construction of weir dams for water harvesting, and establishment of a two-hectare irrigation project which is solar-powered.
- Tourism firms cash in on tax rebates
- In-depth Interview: 'Local tourism on great rebound'
- 'Zim needs to revamp tourism infrastructure'
- Mosi Oa Tunya makes fresh inroads
The project was implemented in collaboration with development partners, including World Vision and the United States Agency for International Development.