Government has stepped up its efforts in addressing the environmental degradation as a result of alluvial mining activities.
The Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry through its proposals on the Rehabilitation of River Ecosystems Degraded by Riverbed Mining Activities will roll out a plan to rehabilitate mined areas which were abandoned without restoration.
Speaking at the post cabinet briefing, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said the major rivers affected are Mazowe River in Mashonaland Province, Munyati and Angwa Rivers in Moshonaland West, Manzimudhaka River in Shurugwi District of Midlands Province, Mutare and Save Rivers in Manicaland, as well as Insiza and Umzingwane Rivers in Matabeleland South.
“To remedy the situation, Government will, in the long-term establish an Environmental Levy on all activities that degrade the environment.
“In the short to medium-term, Government will engage third party companies through the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) to rehabilitate damaged mined-out areas on our rivers in the northern, southern and eastern regions.
“As a way to promote participation of the third-party companies, EMA will initially meet the rehabilitation costs, with Treasury providing the necessary budgetary support,” Mutsvangwa said.
She highlighted that where rehabilitation is to be undertaken on areas that have the potential for mineral recovery, the contracted third-party company will be prohibited from processing the alluvial sand within three kilometers of the river.
“The Environmental Management Agency and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) will monitor the engaged third-party companies in order to ensure compliance with proper rehabilitation practices.
“Rehabilitation of degraded river ecosystems will be undertaken by local communities where it is feasible to do so and upon recommendation by EMA, as a way of empowering communities and creating employment,” she said.
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