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Friday, July 12, 2024

Illegal sand miners threaten Cleveland Dam

Story by Theophilus Chuma

ILLEGAL sand poachers are threatening the survival of Cleveland Dam, with shocking evidence showing over 200 illegal sand miners having besieged the dam’s catchment area.

A ticking time bomb slowly counting down to an environmental disaster, sand poachers are wreaking havoc around Cleveland Dam, one of the country’s important wetlands and a Ramsar Convention Site.

Blinded by their ruthless need for an extra dollar, the poachers are sacrificing this environmental heritage for a song.

“We just load the lorries and we share dollar across ourselves,” said one of the poachers

Another added, “I am selling the whole 10 cubic for 65 dollars and I can get at least three or four trucks daily,”

Calculated over 200 illegal sand poachers, the massive sand extraction within this area is extensive.

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) fears the dam could soon be decimated if the illegal activities continue unabated.

“The activities are happening within the catchment area of the dam, and we fear this will negatively impact on the capacity of the area to recharge. We see a situation where the impact will be very dire for the dam in the future” said  Environmental Management Agency (EMA)  Education and Publicity Manager, Ms Amkela Sidange.

Yet it’s not only Cleveland Dam where sand poachers are leaving a trail of destruction. Eye Court area near Chitungwiza bears the ugly marks of illicit activities.

According to official figures, land degradation has accounted for at least 1900 hectares and the figure is projected to rise due to the current illegal activities countrywide.

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