Environmental Hazard As Unemployed Turn Harare into Pits

Environmental Hazard As Unemployed Turn Harare into Pits
Workers fill a truck with sand on an illegal sand mine in Hopely

Sand miners are turning the Harare province into pits causing land degradation as they try to make a living out of the illegal activity.

The miners said that they joined the profession as a way of employment.

“Hatina mabasa atiinawo dai kuri kunzi kune mabasa dai tisiri pano,” We are not employed, if we were employed we would have not been here doing sand mining said, George Nyikadzino one of the illegal sand miners.

“Zvechihure handizvikwanisi… Ini murume wangu i vendor haana mari kana mari yemafuta evana ekuzora mu winter muno.”  I am a sand miner because I can’t be a sex worker… My husband is a vendor who cannot even afford to purchase skincare products in this winter, said a woman who is also a sand miner.

After a tour to where sand mining was taking place, Communications officer at EMA, Joyce Chapungu said that EMA is need for stakeholders to play their part in dealing with illegal sand mining.

“We cannot let the environment deteriorate because of the economy,” Chapungu said. “We want sustainability.”

“We want the law enforcers to play their part because they will be enforcing environmental law as well.”

Environmental Management Agency (EMA) Environmental Officer Gilbert Mugunzva said that local authorities in Harare, which has already lost 300 hectares to sand mining has to demarcate areas for the activity and rehabilitate the land afterwards.

“The local authorities claim that they don’t have land, land belongs to individuals,” Mugunzva said.

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