Government To Destroy Houses Built On Wetlands

Government is mulling over the possibilities of demolishing houses built on wetlands in an effort to protect the ecosystem services they provide.

Addressing journalists, Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said government will start destroying illegal houses soon and blamed the illegal building of houses on wetlands on the poor state of affairs in Harare.

“I feel sorry for the state of affairs in Harare which is a result of poor planning, on the other hand some land barons are taking advantage of the local authorities in the city, which is worrying us.

“I have had some engagements in Chitungwiza and gave a stern warning to landlords that we are really coming to destroy some of those illegal houses that have found their way in most of these areas,

“Currently we have engaged the Ministry of Local Government to bring sanity into most of these areas so the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), the ministry, our ministry and the police, we will be working together to make sure that we bring to book those that are responsible,” warned Muchinguri.

Clear guidelines have been outlined for those interested in venturing into development housing in Harare and agencies have been set up which involve EMA and Muchinguri warned Harare City Council to stop issuing stands in the wetlands.

“We have been seeing all these settlements coming up and we took a very strong position in cabinet and now there are guidelines as to what should be observed by any interested party in venturing into development housing in Harare and an agency has been set up which involves EMA,

“But regrettably this came about when the illegal act had been practiced and the Harare City Council are still continuing issuing stands in these wetlands, we need to put a stop and I would appreciate if you are aware of some these areas so that we can engage them to the extent of suing them, we have the capacity to do that so we won’t hesitate if we have that information,” said Muchinguri.

Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for the varying periods of time during the year.

Approximately 1 117 wetlands exist across the country covering about 793 348 hectares or 1.5% of Zimbabwe’s surface area, only 21% are still stable and in pristine state, 61% are moderately degraded and 18% severely degraded.

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