By Correspondent

Harare is embarking on a 45 day operation that will see the demolition of illegal structures erected on wetlands.

The operation, codenamed Zero Tolerance to Environmental Crimes, will end on 15 December and will cover Harare, Chitungwiza, Ruwa and Epworth.

Speaking to state media, Tafadzwa Muguti, the Provincial Affairs and Devolution Secretary said all illegal housing developments will be stopped despite who gave the stands.

“We are aware that our councils are actively involved in parceling out land in wetlands.

“All housing developments in wetlands shall be stopped, with all cases of purchase or award of such land being reported to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC).

“The operation is a response to concerns raised by the Presidium over increased environmental crimes in Harare province,” he said.

Muguti added that the operation has four areas of concern they are targeting.

“The operation is specifically focusing on four environmental issues;solid waste management, invasion of wetlands, illegal sand abstraction and illegal brick moulding and emissions.

The illegal annexation of wetlands has become a huge issue with councils losing large tracts of land.

Currently, Chitungwiza remains with only 189 hectares out of a total of 912 hectares of wetland area according to EMA.

Wetlands Committee

Earlier this year government created a special committee which was set up to remove the illegal structures.

The committee comprises officials from the Environmental Management Agency (Ema), police, the City of Harare, Chitungwiza Municipality, Ruwa Local Board and Epworth Local Board.

Speaking after its launch Harare Provincial Affairs secretary Tafadzwa Muguti said the committee would deal with the mischief by land barons who have been invading land reserved for other developments.

Corruption and abuse of political power have cited as among the main reasons for the abuse and loss of wetlands in the country.

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