The Hwange Local Board (HLB) has launched a blitz on clay poachers who have reportedly caused serious environmental damage in the mining town.
Of late, the coal-mining town has been invaded by clay soil poachers, illegally extracting soil for brick moulding purposes leading to land degradation.
Clay poaching activities have persisted mainly due to the ever-increasing housing projects being carried out in Hwange urban and has resulted in massive deforestation and proliferation of open pits.
The pits are becoming a danger to both human beings and animals with their existence being more hazardous during the rainy season.
The local authority said the clay soil poachers were using sewer water from the defunct Empumalanga sewer plant that finds its way to the nearby Kalope stream.
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) three weeks ago had to rein in and ordered the local authority to rehabilitate the degraded land no later than the end of September.
“Hwange Local Board is pinning its hopes of curbing clay poaching activities within its areas of jurisdiction on the government’s newly launched wildlife and environmental protection exercise,” said the local authority.
The local authority further explained: “In Hwange District, the operation is being headed by the Criminal Investigations Department with other committee members being the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Environmental Management Agency, Forestry Commission, Department of Immigration, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Hwange Colliery Company Limited, Hwange Rural District Council and HLB.”
The committee, according to the HLB, has already started work and recommended the removal of clay poachers and destruction of their illegal activities before 11 October.