THE Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has fined over 226 farmers for failing to put in place standard fireguards and for starting fires that caused extensive damage to the environment and property.
“The agency has issued 226 tickets, with farmers paying between $30 000 and $50 000, and opened 23 dockets as penalties to farmers,” said EMA’s environmental education and publicity manager Mrs Amkela Sidange.
The agency also served 4 731 environmental protection orders to farmers before the onset of the veld fire season, reminding them to construct standard fireguards around their properties.
It is believed that lack of standard fireguards is one of the major reasons for increased losses to veld fires.
Zimbabwe has recorded 536 veld fire incidents that have burnt 180 787 hectares of land since the start of the fire season in July.
Over the past week, EMA’s education and awareness campaigns have been targeting the travelling public at roadblocks along major highways.
For example, motorists are being encouraged to use ash trays in their cars to avoid setting off veld fires that have the potential not only to destroy the environment but also cause road traffic accidents due to poor visibility.
“A total of 801 vehicles were accessed along the Harare-Bindura and Harare-Kariba roads during the week, reaching out to the travelling public also with messages to discourage them against lighting fires at bus stops to warm themselves as they wait for transport and motorists during a breakdown, as these fires, if left unattended, have a potential to cause veld fires.”