Timber reserves face extinction: EMA

via Timber reserves face extinction: EMA – Southern Eye November 12, 2013 by Veneranda Langa and Nunrai Jena 

ENVIRONMENTAL Management Agency (EMA) director-general Mutsa Chasi has warned that the country’s timber reserves faced extinction within the next five years given the rate at which they are being decimated by veld fires.

Addressing legislators attending an environmental workshop in Harare over the weekend, Chasi said veld fires were causing havoc to forests.

“In the next five years Zimbabwe will have to import timber because of the effects of veld fires,” said Chasi.

“Legislators should strengthen environmental laws and environmental courts should be set up to enhance expeditious hearing of cases of violation of environmental laws,” she said.

Chasi said in 2010 veld fires caused the death of 25 people and in 2011 a total of 20 deaths were recorded, while in 2012 three people died and most of the affected were children. According to EMA, about 1 600 hectares of timber forests in Manicaland were destroyed in 2011 alone.

Speaking at the same event, Nkulumane MP Thamsanqa Mahlangu (MDC-T) blamed politicians for stifling EMA’s efforts to enforce environmental laws.

“We have a situation in terms of wetlands whereby the Chinese built hotels on wetlands, but the then Environment minister Francis Nhema let them to go ahead. How did EMA allow the Chinese to build a hotel on a wetland against the laws of this country? It means there is no enforcement,” said Mahlangu.

Principal officer for law enforcement and environmental impact assessment at EMA, Chris Mushava, said they were facing human capacity challenges as they were operating with thin manpower, which was hindering effective enforcement of environmental laws.

Meanwhile, EMA’s Mashonaland West provincial manager Eunice Mutepfa yesterday called for imposition of stiffer penalties for those found guilty of deliberately causing veld fires.

Addressing a stakeholders’ meeting in Chinhoyi, Mutepfa said stiffer penalties instead of fines would assist in curbing the vice.



  • comment-avatar
    Sekuru Mapenga 8 years ago

    EMA needs to get very serious about our environment since the situation is critical.

  • comment-avatar
    Trisha 8 years ago

    It is not just fires destroying our trees, it is Tobacco Farming, and alarm bells should be ringing about that.

  • comment-avatar
    Shebah 8 years ago

    EMA – you are not addressing the problem. Veld fires occur because grass is growing too tall in the new farming areas, cattle population to reduce and naturally control grass growth is not matching the requirements. As a result a single fire either through mistake or deliberate is beyond our capacity to control. The fires can be so ferocious that they cross high ways, they cross a 9m fire guard. These fires are not approachable within 10 to 20 metres. In other words we as new farmers dont have the capacity to fight them. To blame the farmer or come up with stiff penalties will not solve the problem, fires will always start. EMA should come up will a fire fighting strategy and team. In America and Europe weld fires are fought by the govt.

  • comment-avatar
    nyoka 8 years ago

    elephants= cynaide, trees = fire, but it is said one of the most educated nations in africa the behaviour of zimbabweans is totally unacceptable when it comes to common sense thinking.