Compiled by Zvaitwa Katsidzira-ZIDAWU Youth Forum.
Young people continue to be punished as they have to live with the consequences of environmental degradation. Youth will not only suffer now but in the future as adults. Not only environmental degradation but also pollution and poor waste disposal are consequences being faced by the youth, especially those living in places like Chiadzwa, Marange and Arda Transau where mineral extraction is taking place. There is need for environmental and climate justice, not only for the current generation but for the future generations too. Youth can be the central actors in fostering change and adopting to an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Following the field visit to Arda Transau fom the 4th to the 5th of June 2021, focusing on the My Planet My Right Campaign. As ZIDAWU youth we managed to participate in the national cleanup campaign which takes place every first Friday of every month. As youth we cleaned the community including the school and hospital premises while also taking time to raise awareness among youth and on the benefits of keeping their environment clean and safe from harm. It was an interesting experience as we were able to sensitise and meet other youth who are involved in mining, making them aware of the importance of the My Planet My Right Campaign.
Problems youth are facing in Arda Transau
- Environmental degradation
Mining activities seem to be taking place near Wellington primary school and this poses great danger to the school children as they might fall into the pits left open. The future for these children is destroyed and these pits and open grounds pave way for disasters to occur which also pose a great danger to the school.
Animals being trapped in open pits and reduced land for agriculture leading to hunger and starvation mostly related to land degradation.
- Air, water pollution and poor waste disposal
Breeding spaces for parasites eg mosquitoes especially caused by poor waste disposal, land degradation and water pollution.
A breeding ground for air borne diseases, skin irritation, influenza, asthma and TB.
What an individual can do
- Educating artisanal miners on the importance of sustainable mining in their operations.
- Practice Reforestation as individuals, communities and mining companies.
- Fill in open pits.
- Protect of water sources.
What ZIDAWU can do.
- Participate in the campaign and promote environmental rights
- Promote sustainable natural resource management.
- Spearhead issues to do with the environment
- Community sensitization on the importance of ECR and encouraging policy makers to ensure these issues become part of the curriculum.
Where ZELA can chip in
- Research into current environmental issues,
- Monitoring the production of the reports on Environment reporting
- Arrest those who are posing harm to the environment
- Regular audits on compliance.