Is Sand Abstraction a Driver of Land Degradation?

Is Sand Abstraction a Driver of Land Degradation?

Global assessments indicate that the percentage of total land area that is highly degraded has increased from15% in 1991 to 25% by 2011(UNCCD, 2013).The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO, 2011), estimated that every year, 24 billion tonnes of fertile soils are lost through erosion alone. 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. Sustainable Development Goal number 15 aims at combating desertification as well as halting and reversing land degradation.                                                                                                                            Sand abstraction site threatening Granville Cemetry in Harare



Veld Fires are very destructive as they can result in the loss of life, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, livelihoodsand property. Over the past decade, veld fires have destroyed over a million hactares of land each year; in 2015 alone, sixteen (16) people lost their lives to veld fires, whilst 1 510 343hactares of land were destroyed in 2 464 fire incidences recorded nationwide.


           The construction of standard 9m wide fireguards and the provision of firefighting equipment should be prioritised in order to reduce veld fires.


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The Environmental Management Agency is a statutory body responsible for ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources and protection of the environment, the prevention of pollution and environmental degradation, the preparation of Environmental Plans for the management and protection of the environment. It was established under the Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20:27] and operationalised on the 17th of March 2003 through SI 103 of 2003.

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