Development planners told to value wetlands

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By Hopewell Chibvongodze

Harare, March 22, 2024 – The Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife has warned developmental planners against ignoring the importance of wetlands and the accompanying bio-diversity loss through the destruction of wetlands.

Wetlands play a vital role in maintaining water quality and bio-diversity, yet they are often overlooked in development planning,” said Deputy Director of Environment, Abraham Matiza, during a programme to mark Earth Hour in Harare on Friday.

Earth Hour is one of the world’s largest grassroots movements for the environment, which seeks to inspire individuals, businesses and organizations in over 190 countries and territories to renew their commitment to the planet.

This year marks the 18th Earth Hour in support and celebration of the planet.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Zimbabwe organised the celebration during which people marched from Belgravia Shopping Centre into Downie Street, to the Botanical Gardens.

“Across Africa, we face various environmental challenges such as climate change, deforestation, water pollution and others. These issues lead to drought, floods, and other disasters impacting both human livelihoods and ecosystems,” he said.

Matiza said the government is implementing strategies to conserve wetlands and restore ecosystem services and called for collective action to raise awareness and drive positive change for the planet.

This year’s Earth Hour campaign is running under the theme “sustainable energy for a greener future.”

He said the theme emphasizes the relationship between human action and the well-being of the planet.

“Recent events like cyclones and pandemics highlight the urgency of addressing environmental issues,” he said, adding the youth should inspire their peers and families’ behaviour change toward environmental conservation.

Matiza said the government is committed to addressing climate and environmental issues as it also asks for the cooperation of its citizens.