EDITOR — AS Zimbabwe’s economy improves and some people finally find their footing, economic wise, there are a number of infrastructural development projects (homes, commercial stands) ‘going up’. The projects have created jobs that have enabled many to fend for their families, but one element that is being ignored in the construction of our beautiful mansions is the source of a critical raw material in construction — sand.
Sand mining has become a brisk and lucrative business, but the way the mining is being conducted leaves a lot to be desired.
A recent tour of areas in and around the city revealed rampant and uncontrolled sand mining activities that are damaging the environment. Due to the increase in construction projects, there is now a disregard of laws governing sand mining. According to the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), no person shall excavate clay or sand deposits for commercial purposes without a licence issued by the agency and operators are carrying out operations without being granted permission.
The law also states that, whoever applies to have a licence to excavate sand must provide a detailed excavation and environmental rehabilitation plan.
Unsustainable sand mining has had devastating effects on the environment, ranging from the negative impact on local wildlife, siltation of dams, land degradation, soil erosion and uncontrollable gulley formations.Sand mining near rivers is also affecting the quality of water.
It is crucial to identify places where sustainable mining should be conducted. Sustainable sand mining is necessary so that the land can be available for further use.
People need to know that the sand mining business is not just an operation; they have to budget for the environment so that the land can be used for either agricultural or infrastructural purposes after mining. We have done away with fortress conservation because we have seen that people must make a living from the environment, but what people should understand is that poor sand mining activities cause river and stream siltation, erosion and land degradation.