Can Sand Abstraction be Sustainable?


Globally, it is estimated that every year, 24 billion tonnes of fertile soils are lost through erosion alone (UNCCD, 2001). In Zimbabwe, soil erosion remains one the biggest environmental challenges. Whitlow (1988) contends that 1 848 000 hectares of land in all agro-ecological regions in Zimbabwe are eroded and an average of 76 tonnes of soil is lost per hectare through soil erosion.

The post-2015 global development agenda foresees that land-degradation neutrality is possible if everyone takes responsibility.

Sand Mining and Transportation

Sand and clay mining is one of the major drivers to land degradation in Zimbabwe’s urban, semi urban and rural service centres centre as well as growth points, mainly due to construction activities. Most of the miners of sand and clay do so from undesignated points and do not rehabilitate the land afterwards. The abandoned sites are characterised by severe land degradation, with huge open pits which are a death trap to human beings and animals.  Limited livelihood options to the urban dwellers have worsened the country’s disposition to illegal sand mining.

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Plastic waste remains a challenging waste management issue because of its non-biodegradable nature. Plastics, if not properly managed, end up as litter polluting water ways, wetlands, storm water systems and end up clogging storm drains resulting in flash floods like the ones experienced in Harare recently. Some countries like Rwanda have imposed a total ban on plastics; whilst others charge a small fee as a way of encouraging people to bring their own shopping bags or baskets in order to of protect the environment. Zimbabwe has put in place regulations on the standards of the permissible thickness of plastic carrier packaging.

Thin plastics are not durable; they can easily break.

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Vision, Mission & Values

  • VISION +

    A clean, safe and healthy environment supporting an empowered society, a sustainable and growing economy by 2030.

    To regulate, monitor and promote sustainable management of natural resources and protection of the environment with stakeholder participation.

    • Transparency • Professionalism • Timeous response • Stakeholder Participation • Unhu / Ubuntu •Team work •
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