EMA partners local organisation to preserve wetlands

By ZBC Reporter
THE Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has partnered a local organisation alongside communities in Masvingo and Mashonaland East province in the preservation of wetlands.
Most wetlands such as the Driefontein grasslands which are found in the area bordering Masvingo and Mashonaland East Provinces remain under threat from human and animal activity, hence the need for sustainable management.
Efforts are therefore being made to ensure the sustainable management of the Driefontein grasslands which have immense tourism potential due to the unique bird species and woodlands found in the area.
The Environmental Management Agency and Birdlife Zimbabwe, an organization which has interests in the conservation of birds and biodiversity are working closely with the communities to ensure they have alternative income-generating projects to ease pressure on the wetlands.
Apart from being home to the wattled crane, grey crowned crane and the secretary birds, the Driefontein wetlands are the source of Mutirikwi, Shashe, Sebakwe and Dewure rivers, which provide water for Masvingo and Mashonaland East.
“It’s key that we sustainably manage these wetlands as they are giving life to many people, we are trying to ensure that the communities understand how critical the wetlands are to make sure that they do not dry up,” said Joyce Chapungu the communications officer for EMA.
Birdlife Zimbabwe Programs Manager, Togarasei Fakarayi believes the wetlands can be of major value to the communities through tourism initiatives given the unique bird species in the area.
“This is an important bird and wildlife area which has a protected species. It is rich in biodiversity. The wetlands provide important services to the birds,” said Farakayi.
The Driefontein grasslands are among the wetlands that are protected under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands signed in 1971.
Meanwhile, Masvingo will host the National Wetlands Day commemorations this Friday at Njovo.