The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has ordered the Hwange Local Board (HLB) to rehabilitate land degraded as a result of clay soil poaching activities by people involved in brick moulding within its jurisdiction.
The illegal brick-moulding activities are taking place in the bushy areas of Empumalanga and Don Bosco in the coal-mining town.
Clay poaching activities, which have persisted mainly due to the ever-increasing housing projects being carried out in Hwange urban and have resulted in massive deforestation and proliferation of open pits.
Such pits are becoming a danger to both human beings and animals with their existence being more hazardous during the rainy season.
The local authority, which confirmed the EMA order, Wednesday said it had already started the rehabilitation process.
“We can confirm that we received an order from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) compelling us to rehabilitate land that has been damaged due to clay soil poaching activities by some unscrupulous individuals involved in brick moulding in the bushy areas of Empumalanga and Don Bosco,” said the HLB.
“To date, we have started the rehabilitation process in earnest as we seek to stick to EMA’s order which states that we should have rehabilitated the affected areas on or before the 25th of September 2020. We have approached various stakeholders including the District Development Coordinator’s office and members of the security services to assist us in eradicating this illegal activity.
The local authority further said: “We are currently mobilising resources to rehabilitate the affected areas. We remain committed in preserving the environment as well as ensuring the safety of members of the community.”
The HLB however said it was worth noting that they had over the years made numerous efforts to curb the rampant land degradation in the areas in question, where perpetrators were fined in line with council bylaws.
“Efforts to halt the poachers’ activities have however, been futile as our security personnel met stiff resistance,” said the HLB.