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Conserve water bodies, urges expert

STAKEHOLDERS in nature conservation have called for an increase in the buffer zone for water bodies and land for developments from 50 meters to more throughout the country.
Livestock and Fisheries Department fisheries assistant, Japhet Chiyesu, said the 50 metre buffer zone was not working out for Mufumbwe district, particularly along the banks of the Kabompo River where people had put up lodges while others were doing farming.
“People have been given land along the Kabompo River for various uses. Farmers have gone as close as eight metres from the river with their gardens while some lodges have facilities almost into the water,” Mr Chiyesu explained.
He said such activities disturbed the natural environment which was key for some fish species and other water living organisms to breed.
“We have living things like crocodiles, hippos and mud fish, the breeding process for these animals is completed on the ground, along the banks of rivers,” he said.
He was speaking in an interview in relation to the Kabompo Catchment Conservation Project by World Wide Fund for Nature – WWF
Mr Chiyesu explained that disturbing the eco-system contributed to the depletion or migration of animals like hippos, crocodiles and mud fish.
And a local environmental activist, Lando Mutanda, said increasing the buffer zone from 50 metres to 150 or 200 metres would reduce the pollution of key water bodies, such as the Kabompo River.
“If the distance between the water and developments is increased, it means the amount of soil being eroded will significantly be reduced and so shall be the amount of agro-chemicals being drained into the river,” Mr Mutanda explained.
Mr Mutanda said this would not only help to conserve the fresh waters in water bodies like the Kabompo River but also help in sustaining the life of living organisms in the water.
“If the water and the eco-systems are left undisturbed, we can be assured that the migration and possible depletion of living organisms in the water will be prevented,” Mr Matanda said.
He, therefore, called for concerted efforts from all stakeholders in land allocation and development so that all water bodies in Mufumbwe district were preserved for the generations to come.

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