Story by Wellington Makonese
More than 100 000 hectares of land have been degraded through illegal mining operations across the country.
The upsurge in unsanctioned mining activities has also resulted in massive pollution of the environment with a survey by the environmental watchdog, the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) revealing that over 100 000 hectares have been affected.
EMA Education and Publicity Manager, Ms Amkela Sidange confirmed in an interview with ZBC News this Monday, “There is an upsurge of land degradation due to illegal mining of gold, chrome and of late, lithium. A survey we conducted showed that over 100 thousand hectares of land has been degraded, this excludes 1 550 of river space ecosystem has been affected as well and over 1 900 due to sand-poaching.
“In three weeks, 10 hectares have been degraded. This has been a result of increased illegal activities. Just last week, we invoked statutes over companies mining lithium in Gwanda for breaching the law. The challenge is that these are unregulated mining activities and are a health time-bomb particularly during this rain season as they result in contamination of water points.”
The Illegal mining activities have become detrimental to national heritage, decimating mountains, sacred shines and grave yards.