Various local authorities across the country have not exhibited strict awareness of the importance of wetlands resulting in the allocation of stands in many of them an expert has said.
A communique by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) states that the range of officials not equipped enough to deal with the endangering of wetlands includes judges.
“Notwithstanding the very important role local authorities should play in wetlands protections, some of these local authorities have little regard of environmental laws.
“At times development proceeds under their nose even if it violates the environmental laws. Effective wetlands protection in Zimbabwe require collaboration between Local Authorities and EMA and residents,’ it said.
ZELA added that court officials also fall under the same bracket.
“Effective environmental protection and wetlands protection is also affected by lack of capacity on the part of court officials.
“EMA data shows that approximately 70% of magistrates and court officials did not undertake courses in environmental law.
“Of the six magistrates in Harare, only two undertook a module in environmental law.
The organisation said this lack of appreciation of environmental law is further compounded by the absence of environmental courts in Zimbabwe.
ZELA and EMA are pushing for the establishment of environmental courts.
Wetlands provide carbon storage facilities on earth as they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that is then converted into other carbon compounds and cellulose.
Globally, wetlands are estimated to be storing 500-700 gigatons of carbon.
Wetlands regulate the quantity and timing of water discharge during droughts. During floods wetlands provide buffering and flood storage services,
This therefore means the destruction of wetlands will result in the release of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, three major heat-trapping gases.
Despite their large potential for carbon mitigation, wetlands have not featured prominently within early climate commitments following the Paris Agreement.