Fairness Moyana in Hwange
THE Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has launched a crackdown on illegal brick moulders whose operations are contributing to environmental degradation in Hwange District.
In the last two weeks EMA has issued tickets to more than 400 people who were illegally moulding bricks in concessions owned by the Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL), Hwange Rural District Council (HRDC) and Hwange Local Board (HLB).
Following the allocation of new residential stands by HLB under its expansion programme, there has been a huge demand for building materials such as bricks hence an increasing number of youths are now into brick moulding.
An estimated 500 people are moulding bricks in undesignated areas, which has led to wanton and rampant cutting down of trees. Local authorities have also been accused of being lax in designating land for brick moulding.
EMA provincial manager, Mrs Chipo Mpofu-Zuze, said her organisation was there to safeguard the environment following a surge in illegal brick moulding.
“Yes, I can confirm that there is such an operation meant to get rid of illegal brick moulders who have invaded the areas along the Victoria Falls-Bulawayo highway without relevant permission. The illegal activities have led to land degradation, which if not stopped, will affect the environment,” she said.
Mrs Mpofu-Zuze also called on local authorities to intervene by allocating land for brick moulding where those involved use sustainable and environmentally friendly methods.
“They should develop an environmental management plan, which outlines what and how the rehabilitation of the mined areas will be done,” she said.
The brick moulders said the EMA raids had crippled their business.
They called on the authorities to allocate them land where they could continue with their projects of moulding bricks which are in high demand as a result of individuals building their houses.
“We are aware of the legal requirements hence we are calling on authorities to allocate us land so that we can mould the bricks in a sustainble way that minimises the damage to the environment,” said Mr Timothy Mudenda, a father of two.
The HLB chief executive officer, Mr Ndumiso Mdlalose, said they were in the process of regularising the allocation of land for brick moulding.