Protect wetlands, communities urged

By Margaret Matibiri
THE District Development Co-Ordinator (DDC)for Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe, Douglass Hungwa has urged communities to protect wetlands in respective communities as they act as flood reduction agents.
Speaking during belated World Wetlands Day commemorations held in Nyamhara village, Uzumba, the DDC reiterated on the need to preserve wetlands as they are advantageous to communities at large.
“As a country, we are experiencing massive degradation of wetlands and the World Wetlands Day which is the commemoration of the signing of the Treaty on the Conservation on wetlands which was signed in February 1971 in Iran acts as a reminder of the agreement,” Hungwa said.
“The treaty became popularly known as the Ramsar Convention and its aim was to raise public awareness on conservation, proper utilisation and management of wetlands and their resources. In the same vein, we commemorate this day as our wetlands act as a natural sponge, absorbing and storing excess rainfall and reducing flooding. During the dry season, they release the water stored, delaying the onset of droughts and reducing water shortages and this is much needed in our community at the moment.
“I urge all government agencies and departments to help communities use wetlands sustainably, I am happy Caritas and Environmental Management Agency (EMA) helped the local community to fence off Nyamhara wetland, may all stakeholders help improve local people’s lives through implementing wetland conservations projects.”
The commemorations were a joint effort of EMA and Caritas Harare in partnership with Cafod with support from UKaid following the fencing of the Nyamhara wetland.
Villagers have claimed to see rare species of birds from the wetland and hopes are high that someday it could become a place for tourists. The Wetland is, however, being used for bee-keeping which is expected to generate some income for the village.