Development partners urged to prioritise environmental protection

Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Cde Judith Ncube

BULAWAYO Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube has implored development partners to prioritise protecting the environment and preserving its value through the sustainable utilisation of wetlands.

She was speaking during the belated World Wetlands Day commemorations at Hillside Dams Conservancy.

The day is commemorated every year on February 2 and this year’s theme is “Wetlands and human well-being.” 

Minister Ncube said most wetlands in the world including in Zimbabwe, have disappeared because of people’s activities.

She said there is a compelling need for citizens to protect wetlands because they provide habitat for thousands of aquatic species and terrestrial plants as well as animals. 

“Wetlands sustain many lives including the fight against climate change. They are also important because they can purify water and are a way of preventing flooding. They also support flora and fauna and as such play an important role in the ecosystem,” said Minister Ncube.

She said overfishing, invasive species, infrastructural developments on wetlands and pollution are some of the threats to wetlands.

“We still have a long way to go in educating people on the importance of wetlands to their lives. Once wetlands are destroyed many lives that depend on them are also affected,” said Minister Ncube. 

Wetlands function as natural sponges that trap and slowly release surface water.

Speaking during the same event, Environmental Management Agency (EMA) environmental planning and monitoring officer, Ms Oppah Ruzawe said wetlands are critical in fighting climate change.

She said Zimbabwe has more than 1 271 wetlands which have been recorded.

“In Zimbabwe, there are seven sites which are internationally recognised as wetlands. These wetlands are important because they support agro-tourism and give rich biodiversity to fight climate change,” said Mrs Ruzawe.

The director for Hillside Dams Conservation, Mr Piete Tevelde said the greatest threat they were facing was that of invasive plants.

He said they were working with volunteers and the community to remove the invasive plants

Chronicle

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