By Alois Vinga
THE Network for Environmental and Climate Justice (NECJ) has blamed Harare City Council’s outdated Masterplan for fuelling the rampant destruction of wetlands.
The lobby group made the remarks in appreciation of the pronouncements that all the 92 local authorities in the country will have approved Masterplans by June 2024.
“Harare whose outdated Masterplan- last updated in 1992- has paved the way for chaotic land allocations (including on wetlands) which often disregard environmental sustainability.
“It makes little reference to wetlands and their invaluable services for the Harare City Council (HCC),” NECJ said.
The pressure group said wetlands degradation has been rampant in Harare coming on the backdrop of erratic water supplies, a situation that could be addressed through preservation and restoration of wetlands which are Harare’s second source of water after run-off.
HCC was also blamed for largely failing to integrate the issue of wetland ecosystems and this has come with heavy costs for the city.
NECJ said Harare continues to use outdated colonial legislation on urban planning which was initially meant for a smaller population and this works against proper land use and planning.
The grouping said at a time the city is using an outdated master plan, the demand for land for construction or housing purposes is continuously high in Harare and consequently, these projects are being undertaken at the detriment of wetland ecosystems.
“It is imperative that the updated Masterplan for Harare appreciates the fact that the future sustainability of the capital is dependent on wetlands preservation and environmental sustainability.
“Proper land use planning in Harare should incorporate the need to protect wetlands in line with the vision of sustainable development of the capital,” NECJ added.