Govt pushes for environment fund

Environment minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu stated last year that they needed the fund to deal with environmental offenses that endanger communities.

THE government this week said it was finalising policies and procedures that will be incorporated into the Environmental Management Act to create an environment-specific operational fund for regulation of industries.

This comes after concerns were raised that mining companies were not compensating for the environmental damage they cause.

There have also been issues raised about the country's extreme land degradation. Human and animal lives are being lost as a result of the trenches dug by sand poachers and miners, which they leave unattended.

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, and Wildlife Prosper Matondi told Zimbabwe Independent that the fund's details were being finalised and were aimed at safeguarding the environment.

“We had progressed a lot on the Environmental Management Act. We stopped because of elections, all consultations with key stakeholders were done and then it went to the Attorney-General,” he said.

“From the Attorney-General, now I haven’t checked with them. But we are waiting to push so that we have an operational fund.”

According to Matondi, those tasked with protecting the ecosystem were not doing their job.

“Local authorities are collecting levies but not addressing these challenges. So this fund can help us to wedge against some of those environmental malpractices,” he said.

“We also want to introduce a component of reliance to say a percentage of mined chrome, lithium, gold and platinum, but we haven’t worked on the mechanisms because they are mined differently and we need to find a way to come up with a levy because of the damages that they cause.”

Environment minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu stated last year that they needed the fund to deal with environmental offenses that endanger communities.

“We are undertaking intensive national consultations on the Environmental Management Act to ensure that we have an operational fund specific to the environment for the purposes of regulation of the sector,” he said.

“We also need the fund to address environmental offences that threaten communities.

“As indicated earlier, land degradation needs a systematic government response. The environment levy will serve this purpose. In terms of its structure on the levy, our expectation is that it will have a strong governance body that assists me as the minister.”

Zimbabwe is currently facing a myriad of environmental conservation problems.

As a result of the growing crisis caused by environmental degradation, the government has developed policies, acts and resolutions to address the problems.

Our sister paper, NewsDay reported that the Bulawayo municipal police have arrested 140 illegal miners since January for panning for gold near the city’s water bodies, causing massive siltation.

This was revealed in the council’s environmental issues report that includes degradation of the Greater Bulawayo and its water catchment areas.

“Routine patrols were conducted by the rangers in the water catchment areas. There were 132 hand tools confiscated inclusive of four detectors,” the reports reads in part.

“Nine illegal miners were arrested, making a total of 140 panners arrested and detector machines confiscated from January to September 2023.

“The panners were handed over to Esigodini police for prosecution, while the tools will be used in court as exhibits.”

There is rampant gold panning in the city’s water catchment areas, such as Umzingwane.


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