Story by Memory Chamisa
RESIDENTS of Chitungwiza have raised alarm over deep trenches that have been left uncovered by sand poachers who have become a law unto themselves as they harvest river sand.
Sand poachers have become a menace in the dormitory town of Chitungwiza where they are fuelling land degradation as they harvest river sand.
Their illegal sand poaching activities are also creating death traps for children who frequent the area for pastime activities.
Environmental Management Agency Spokesperson, Ms Amkela Sidange revealed the seriousness of the damage being caused to the environment and the danger to human life.
“We conduct raids on sand poachers, but we don’t do that always due to insufficient resources, and so the sand poachers always go back to their illegal activities. It is like a cat-and-mouse game, not only does Sand poaching increase vulnerability to flooding in areas receiving high rainfall, but the practice of sand poaching also threatens wetlands, sand poaching also affects water availability downstream, which then affects water use for climate adaptation purposes,” she said.
This comes hardly a year after a Chitungwiza family lost two children, who drowned in an open pit that was filled with water in the Mayambara area.