Levy for companies degrading environment on cards

Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Mangaliso Ndlovu

By Kudakwashe Pembere

GOVERNMENT intends to levy companies which are engaging in activities which destroy the environment, a Senior Cabinet official has said.

This according to the Environment, Climate and Tourism Ministry is meant to rehabilitate the depleted river banks.

This initiative comes as river banks have been depleted by mining activities.

“The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry also presented proposals on the Rehabilitation of River Ecosystems Degraded by Riverbed Mining Activities, which were adopted by Cabinet.

“In continued efforts to address environmental degradation and negative downstream effects on communities, occasioned by alluvial or riverbed mining, Government will roll out a plan to rehabilitate mined areas which were abandoned without restoration,” the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Senator Monica Mutsvangwa briefed journalists in a post Cabinet Media briefing on Tuesday.

Cabinet last year in September announced a ban on riverbed mining and mining in national parks, but malcontents in the small scale mining sector have continued operating secretly.

Government said operations on rivers such as Angwa and Save, which had capacity to sustain riverbed mining, could be sanctioned after strict review and approval of working plans.

“The major rivers affected are Mazowe River in Mashonaland Central Province, Munyati and Angwa Rivers in Mashonaland 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,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.

Government said it will come up with an Environmental Levy on all harmful activities on the environment.

“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.

“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,” she said.

She added, “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. “

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