THE current power cuts being experienced in the country have seen a sudden increase in cases of firewood and charcoal poaching, National Tree Ambassador, Never Bonde has said.
This was revealed by Bonde in his letter to the Minister of Environment Mangaliso Ndlovu.
“The office of the National Tree Ambassador has noted with great concern the rise in cases of firewood and charcoal poaching and selling in towns and cities. We recently carried out investigations and discovered that most firewood and charcoal dealers do not have licences,” wrote Bonde.
He said from their investigations it emerged that the majority of dealers involved in the practice were unlicensed.
“During our investigations, we also established that most firewood dealers do not have licenses or hold expired licences, hence the need to make a follow-up by relevant authorities to ensure renewal of these documents,” he said.
“Further, it was also established that some illegal dealers produce and sell charcoal which is not classified in any of the licenses issued,” reads part of Bonde‘s letter which was also copied to EMA, Allied Timbers and Forestry Commission.
The National Tree Ambassador however appealed to the relevant authorities to escalate the fight against illegal wood poachers and charcoal dealers.
“It is against this background that we call for a combined effort from stakeholders that include Forestry Commission, EMA, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and Municipal police to carry out regular checks on fire poachers in their respective areas,” said Bonde.
This comes at a time the country is experiencing daily power cuts owing to ageing equipment at the main power stations.
This has left many citizens resorting to firewood as a cheap alternative source of energy.