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Wetlands crisis meeting on

Wetlands in the city and countrywide continue to be destroyed this year at accelerating rate by illegal cultivation, rubbish dumping and actual building developments.

OutDoor with Rosie Mitchell

All this spells very bad news for our water supply, and is nothing short of a humanitarian disaster in the making.

Lake Chivero, Harare’s primary water supply, as explained at the recent World Wetlands Day Commemorations held at Marlborough Vlei by Professor Chris Magadza — a leading hydrology expert — is so badly silted up as a direct result of wetland abuse, and so polluted because water is no longer being naturally filtered by the wetlands, that continuing the supply of clean water is already in very grave jeopardy indeed.

Yet even as the hundreds of schoolchildren who attended this event demonstrated how clearly they comprehend the gravity and urgency of this situation, grown-ups who should know better and listen harder to their children, blithely continue with blatant destruction of these vitally important seasonally waterlogged green spaces.

It is such a simple equation, even the youngest children grasp it; no wetlands, no water. Wetlands store our water, filter it, prevent flooding and erosion, and given we are in Harare right at the top of the watershed, we cannot possibly do without them.

Once sacrosanct from cultivation and building, now they rapidly fall, one by one, in plain sight. They are being systematically covered in houses and mansions and buildings and trash and mealie fields. If you care about this at all, as the youngsters at World Wetlands Day who passionately and knowledgeably recited poems, read essays and put on plays, about this on-going, escalating crisis clearly do, attend the Public Meeting on Wetlands being held by the Wetlands Survival Forum on Tuesday 18 February, 3 to 5 pm, in City Hall, Town House, Harare.

If we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem.

Standing by watching this disaster taking place means we just don’t care. We will, however, when water stops flowing from our taps. That day is so much closer than you think!

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