The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has reiterated the need to align environmental and mining laws to the constitution to enable peaceful co-existence between farmers and miners.
Discussing on miner-farmer conflicts at the Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba in Bulawayo yesterday, EMA Mashonaland Central Provincial Environmental Manager, Robert Rwafa said there is need to establish rapport between the two economic sectors.
Rwafa said the existence of such conflicts impacts negatively on the environment.
“Conflicts result in land degradation, lack of interest in land rehabilitation, lack of commitment to proper land management and protection,” he said.
“Uncontrolled fires destroy velds as miners clear mining spaces, livestock and people perish from poisoning and pollution of water bodies.
“Issues of Littering and poor waste management and siltation of water bodies start to surface.”
EMA said there are gaps between the Environmental Management Act Cap 20:27, the Mines and Mineral Act, Urban Councils Act, Rural District Councils Act among others which need to be amended.
“There is need for close liaison among the various arms of government to avoid conflict,” said Rwafa.
“Communities must be well informed of long-term dangers associated with improper handling of mining chemicals such as mercury.”
Rwafa said participatory democracy must be enhanced in order to strengthen the development and integration of environmental management in pursuance of best practicable options.
“People and their needs are at the forefront of environmental management, participation of interested and affected parties in environmental governance, development must be socially, environmentally and economically sustainable and there must be promotion of environmental education, environmental awareness and sharing of knowledge,” said Rwafa.