By Kudakwashe Pembere
THE National Wetlands Master Plan is complete with the long awaited document now accessible in both print and electronic versions.
Technical teams comprising experts from the Zimbabwe Geospatial and Space Agency and the Environmental Management Agency in collaboration with relevant ministries started working on the Masterplan in February this year.
This acts as an administrative tool to guide planning authorities and the public on sustainable wetland management nationwide.
Addressing the press during a post cabinet media briefing, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said the master plan is a precursor to the National Wetlands Policy.
“Cabinet is pleased to announce that the National Wetlands Master Plan was completed on time and will inform the development of the National Wetlands Policy.
The inventory of Zimbabwe’s wetlands together with the accompanying maps is now available in hard copy and electronic format. The Master Plan is comprehensive and is made up of the following:
(a) the Zimbabwe National Wetlands Map;
(b) 10 Provincial Wetlands Maps;
(c) 63 District Wetlands Maps
(d) Field Wetlands Maps;
(e) the National Wetlands Geo-database and
(f) the National Wetlands Interactive GIS Webmap.”
“The wetlands interactive GIS webmap provides an interactive platform for wetlands visualisation to the general public and the mobile application can be accessed,” she said.
EMA Harare Province Environmental Impact Assessment and Ecosystems Protection Officer,
Mr Gilbert Mugunzva said in an interview with EnviroZim that Harare has 47 wetlands.
“In Harare we have plus or minus 47 wetlands with a total hectrage of approximately 23 000 hectares that is including Harare, Ruwa, Epworth and Chitungwiza,” he said.
He said EMA is against the destruction of wetlands.
“As far as we are concerned, there are several activities which contribute to wetland depletion.
One of them being agriculture and the other one being construction. As far as we are concerned these activities are not in sync with the best practises of wetland protection. Construction on wetlands should be stopped. Agriculture in wetlands should be stopped,” Mr Mugunzva said.