Conrad Mupesa Mashonaland West Bureau
THE Forestry Commission has arrested 52 illegal firewood and charcoal dealers in six districts of Mashonaland West province since August 2.
The offenders have since been fined under an operation aimed at curbing deforestation.
This was after the provincial forestry managers joined the rest of the nation in an operation against illegal firewood and charcoal traders.
Forestry Commission acting provincial head, Mr Pardon Mukudo, said the operation had so far been carried out in Hurungwe, Chegutu, Makonde, Sanyati, Mhondoro-Ngezi and Zvimba districts.
“We are working in conjunction with the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and local authorities,” he said.
Mr Mukudo said 470 bags of charcoal and a large amount of firewood were recovered from the six districts while in Chinhoyi, there were five arrests on Friday leading to the confiscation of two trucks that were laden with firewood.
“We are also going to engage the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) to check how roadworthy the vehicles we have impounded are. Most of the vehicles seem un-roadworthy and we have realised that huge volumes of firewood are used in the curing of bricks as opposed to coal dust,” he said.
The blitz is also to be carried out in Mapinga, Kariba and Turf in Mhondoro-Ngezi, which are known hotspot areas for illegal firewood and charcoal dealers.