Local organisation rehabilitates unused mines

03 Oct, 2021 - 00:10 0 Views
Local organisation rehabilitates unused mines

The Sunday News

Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
BULAWAYO based non-profit environmental organisation, Greenhut Trust is working with youths in communities to come up with solutions on how to rehabilitate disused mines under a programme called Sharpening Community-Level Youth Leaders for Environmental Management Excellence (SCYLE).

The programme is meant to address challenges emanating from unsustainable mining activities degrading the environment.

In an interview, Greenhut Trust founder and director, Ms Cinderella Ndlovu, said they tailor- made the programme to capacitate communities and were funded by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF Africa).

“We recently carried out the SCYLE programme in Umzingwane District where 25 young people were taking part.

The programme which is being funded by the Frederick Naum Foundation for Freedom is aimed at putting youths at the forefront of lobbying and advocacy for environmental issues in the district,” said Ms Ndlovu.

She said they started off with Umzingwane District where there are a lot of mining activities, a lot of it by illegal miners resulting in deforestation and water pollution. Ms Ndlovu said youths as future leaders had to come up with solutions on how to solve and overcome the unsustainable mining activities.

“The programme is meant to capacitate young people with various tools that they can use in advocacy to drive the issues of environmental management in their wards. They came up with action plans which they are going to have with regards to environmental management. These include tree planting, environmental rehabilitation of abandoned mines, putting in place awareness programmes to enable the youth to engage their communities and reach an understanding on the extent of the damage that illegal mining activities are doing within the area.”

Ms Ndlovu was among participants who attended the capacity building for the dissemination of climate change information by media practitioners in the Southern Region hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in the city last week.

She said the media fraternity was key to dissemination of climate change information so that the general public could have an understanding of the issues.

Climate Change Scientist in the Climate Change Management Department in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality, Mr Lawrence Mashungu said the mining sector was a very energy intensive industry.

“The mining sector contributes to various climate change issues through the use of heavy machinery that need to be powered, the type of transport systems that they use, mining equipment that uses a lot of energy to purify the ore, among others. These contribute to the issues of climate change because there are a lot of emissions  through the mining processes,” said Mr Mashungu.

He said most of the emissions done in mining sector were as a result of processes done to extract fossil fuels or burning them, thereby being among the largest sources of carbon dioxide emissions. Mr Mashungu said small scale miners including  large-scale miners were contributing to the distraction of carbon sinks.

“The trees act as carbon sinks in that they take in carbon dioxide so if the trees are destroyed it means that now the capacity to absorb carbon dioxide is limited or reduced. With small scale miners there has been a huge indiscriminate cutting down of trees, forestry degradation which has destroyed carbon sinks,” he said.

He said that there was need for organised rehabilitation of the degraded forests or lands to ensure that the degraded lands are restored.

The Ministry’s deputy director in the Climate Change Management Department, Mr Kudzai Ndidzano said there were other human actions that caused climate change.

“There is use of fossil-based energy such as coal, petrol and diesel products that actually have a lot of carbon in themselves. Other operations in industries looking at fertilizer manufacture, oxide emissions from cement manufacture, agriculture and forestry works which sometimes through continuous tillage of the soil release carbon into the atmosphere. Enteric fermentation in livestock cause methane emissions, veld fires release carbon into the atmosphere, among others. These are some of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming leading to effects of climate change.”

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