UZ ordered to stop constructions on wetland

HARARE - High Court judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda yesterday ordered the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) to stop all construction work on the campus’ wetland without an environmental impact assessment certificate.

In an interdict filed by the Harare Wetlands Trust (HWT), UZ had begun to construct a service station and shopping complex on the wetland near the corner of Churchill Avenue and Upper East Road.

According to the application by HWT, UZ’s development was unlawful as they had not been issued with permits by the Environmental Management Agency (Ema), Harare City Council  HCC) and the Upper Manyame Subcatchment Council.

“UZ was served with an environmental protection order from Ema in terms of section 37(4) of the Environmental Management Act on May 11 2017, to suspend the development pending the completion of the EIA process, but has failed to comply with the order.”

Julia Pierini, trustee of HWT, said on her visit to the wetland, fuel storage tanks had already been put in the ground and some buildings were under construction.

In an attached letter to the university by HCC director of works Zvenyika Chawatama noted that the project was sited on a wetland and increased the chances of polluting Marimba River as it was the source.

“Waste water from the forecourt washing at the operation stage will negatively impact the water quality as it will result in contamination of surface and underground water,” Chawatama said.

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