CHIREDZI - There has been an unprecedented rise in the rate of cutting down trees in the periphery of Chiredzi town and the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) has roped in the police to carry out joint operations to fight the scourge of deforestation.
Speaking during a Civil Protection Committee meeting last week, Ema manager for Chiredzi, Peter Mugodhi, said the rate of deforestation has reached alarming levels hence the need to put collective efforts to end the practise.
"We cannot have people cutting down trees randomly. We are actually encouraging people to plant more trees not cut them down. As Ema we are engaging the police to embark on joint patrols so that perpetrators will be brought to book," said Mugodhi.
There has been a rise in the number of firewood dealers which has precipitated the cutting down of trees as the business is booming owing to the rise in backyard kitchens.
"We give licenses to sell firewood but that comes with terms and conditions. If one has a firewood business they also need to have proper paper work which allows them to pry in that trade.
"We are very serious about this issue and we are going to enforce it to the dot. We need tress and we should be planting more instead of cutting them down," said Mugodhi
Ema was forced into action after concerns were raised by Chiredzi Residence and Ratepayers Association (Chirra) chairperson Jonathan Muusha over the environmental body' failure to deal with rampant deforestation in the edges of Chiredzi town.
Chiredzi has a vast population of Mopane trees which provides a nutritious diet to livestock in the area but the number is shrinking due to deforestation as the same tree is favoured by firewood dealers because it provides a good fire especially for kitchens.
Chiredzi District Administrator (DA), Lovemore Chisema, pleaded with Ema to quickly mobilise all that it takes to protect the environment.local