10 Causes of Land Pollution in Zimbabwe

In this article, we take a glance at the causes of land pollution in Zimbabwe. Land pollution is an environmental menace that has plagued the world for ages and Zimbabwe is no different.

So firstly, what is land pollution?

The contamination or addition of contaminants to land, particularly soil, is referred to as land pollution. Land pollution is the deterioration or destruction of the earth’s land surfaces, often directly or indirectly as a result of man’s activities and their misuse of land resources.

Before we take a look at the causes of land pollution in Zimbabwe, let’s take a glance at some of the effects of land pollution.

Effects of Land Pollution

Land pollution creates degradation, and degradation causes pollution. After pollution has occurred, the consequences will result in degraded land. Below are the effects of land pollution.

  • Desertification
  • Mass Movements & Soil Erosion
  • Acidic Soils
  • Species Extinction
  • Endemics 
  • Ecosystem Damage
  • Health Effects
  • Environmental Effects

1. Desertification

One major cause of pollution and degradation is the deterioration of fertile lands into barren wastelands. Land can become infertile as a result of activities such as deforestation, overuse of land, and overuse of fertilisers, resulting in barrenness.

Desertification has become a worldwide issue. Desertification has had a detrimental impact on many people in Africa, resulting in famines and hunger.

2. Mass Movements & Soil Erosion

Due to deforestation, land overuse, and excessive irrigation, tons of soil are lost, resulting in land sterility and desertification. Furthermore, this material can find its way into rivers, clogging them and causing floods.

3. Acidic Soils

Fertilizers, pesticides, rubbish, and acid rain all raise soil acidity, leading to infertility. This leads to food shortages or tainted harvests.

4. Species Extinction

Certain animals are forced to flee their habitats or die as a result of pollution and degradation. Birds can be harmed by deforestation, and insecticides like Ethyl dibromide (now banned) can kill harmless insects.

5. Endemics 

Land contamination, such as sewage bursts, can result in endemic diseases like cholera and typhoid. Running water can carry soil acids or sewage into bodies of water, polluting the water for drinking. Unpleasant Smells Bad odours can result from sewage bursts and dumps.

6. Ecosystem Damage

A polluted land will not be able to support the plants and animals that depend on it in keeping food chains intact.

7. Health Effects

There are many pollutants in soils that can be very harmful when exposed to humans over long periods.

8. Environmental Effects

Landfills, littered communities and places with dirty landscapes are generally not attractive to tourists and visitors. This means such communities usually miss out on the value and benefits of tourism and investment.

Zimbabwe, formally the Republic of Zimbabwe, was originally known as Southern Rhodesia (1911–64), Rhodesia (1964–79), or Zimbabwe Rhodesia (1979–80). It shares a 125-mile (200-kilometre) border with the Republic of South Africa on the south, as well as borders with Botswana on the southwest and west, Zambia on the north, and Mozambique on the northeast and east. Harare is the capital (formerly called Salisbury).

Land degradation, deforestation, insufficient quantity and quality of water resources, air pollution, habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity, waste (including hazardous waste), natural hazards (mostly periodic droughts), and climate change are the key environmental concerns confronting Zimbabwe (including rainfall variability and seasonality).

There are some causes of land pollution in Zimbabwe that has been responsible for land degradation and consequently affecting people’s lives.

A report by Anadolu Energy sheds some light on the causes of Land Pollution in Zimbabwe and some of its impacts on the Zimbabwe people. It also highlights the limitation faced by the Zimbabwe government to tackle this menace.

A public toilet at the Copacabana bus station in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, is sealed to the public, while the odour of human waste and urine pervades the air behind it, with flies swarming around and merchants going about their business obliviously.

Nerdy Muyambo, 47, one of the vendors selling sweets and smokes, said they have stopped thinking about the filth surrounding them. “Yes, we’ve learned to live with the odour around here.”

People just urinate in public and, on occasion, slip into alleyways to relieve themselves because bathrooms are frequently out of service,” she (Muyambo) told Anadolu Agency.

Even local environmental activists claim that Zimbabwe’s cities and towns have grown extremely polluted as a result of local governments’ inability to pay their employees.

“Garbage is going for months uncollected, putting people’s health at risk,” environmental campaigners like Tenias Mhande stated from towns and cities extending from Limpopo to the Zambezi River.

“This is the ever-increasing urban pollution about which we always gripe. However, our protests have gone unheard, implying that urban pollution will continue to worsen. To halt the rot in our villages and cities, we need a revolution,” Mhande told Anadolu Agency.

However, Zimbabwe boasts about 20 Acts and nearly 40 statutory provisions in place to protect the country’s environment, particularly against pollution like the one Muyambo faces as she tries to make ends meet by hawking in Harare.

Many people, including Reuben Akili, Program Manager for the Combined Harare Residents Trust, believe that such legislation has failed miserably (CHRA). “At both the citizen and government levels, our greatest difficulties are the gaps between policy and practice. “We have good regulations aimed at limiting pollution, but they are not being implemented properly,” Akili told Anadolu Agency.

Although many urban vendors, like Muyambo, have had to deal with pollution on a daily basis, Zimbabwe’s environmental legislation is actually handled by a number of government ministries, with the Ministry of Environment overseeing the majority of the acts that directly affect the environment.

Nonetheless, the towns and cities where many people like Muyambo work face increasing pollution, putting their health at risk. Local governments, according to climate change expert Godfrey Sibanda, are to blame.

“The situation is the fault of city councils. People must be educated about the causes of pollution and how to avoid it. “The government is also to blame for failing to implement pollution-prevention policies,” Sibanda told Anadolu Agency.

“Where policies exist, there is no monitoring mechanism,” Sibanda said, referring to pollution control efforts. “There is acid rain that ruins structures, unclean air that causes respiratory diseases, and dirty polluted water that causes ingestion disorders and climate change,” he (Sibanda) remarked, referring to the widespread pollution in Zimbabwe’s towns and cities.

Human rights activists such as Dewa Mavhinga, the Africa Division’s Southern Africa director, blamed Zimbabwe’s rising urban pollution on the country’s insolvency. Not only that but there aren’t enough human resources to fight the rot. “Multiple factors contribute to rising pollution and environmental degradation in cities.

Mavhinga told Anadolu Agency that Zimbabwe’s Environmental Management Agency lacks the people and financial resources, as well as the capacity, to appropriately monitor and safeguard the environment.

“The laws need to be altered because the penalty for environmental degradation is too small to be a deterrence,” Mavhinga says, as pollution in this Southern African country worsens. “The court requires specialist training on environmental matters,” he stated, “since the worth of the environment and the need of maintaining it is often underestimated.”

“Pollution mostly stems from uncollected waste that continues to pile up at shopping centres, public open spaces, street corners, and in the core business areas in metropolitan centres,” said Precious Shumba, director of the Harare Residents Trust.

“Where uncollected waste piles up, flies emerge, infections spread, and when it rains, the garbage is swept away and clogs our drainage system,” Shumba told Anadolu Agency. With this, we take a look at the causes of land pollution in Zimbabwe.

Causes of Land Pollution in Zimbabwe

Below are the causes of land pollution in Zimbabwe,

  • Deforestation and Soil Erosion
  • Agricultural Activities
  • Mining Operations
  • Overcrowded Landfills
  • The Industrial Revolution
  • Urbanization
  • Construction Projects
  • Nuclear Waste
  • Treatment of Sewage
  • Littering

1. Deforestation and Soil Erosion

One of the biggest challenges of the environment is deforestation for the purpose of creating drylands. Land that has been changed to dry or barren land can never be converted back to productive land, regardless of the enormity of the steps taken to redeem it.

Another important factor is land conversion, which refers to the alteration or modification of the land’s original features in order to make it suitable for a specific use. It has a significant negative impact on the land. There is also a steady loss of land. Unused available land becomes barren over time, and it can no longer be utilised.

As a result, in search of more territory, powerful land is hunted, putting its indigenous state at risk. This has made deforestation and soil erosion one of the causes of land pollution in Zimbabwe.

2. Agricultural Activities 

Agricultural activities are one of the causes of land pollution in Zimbabwe. The need for food has risen dramatically as the human population has grown. To get rid of insects, fungi, and bacteria from their crops, farmers frequently employ highly harmful fertilizers and pesticides. Overuse of these chemicals, on the other hand, results in soil contamination and toxicity.

3. Mining Operations

Mining operations are one of the causes of land pollution in Zimbabwe. Several land regions are produced beneath the surface during extraction and mining activities. We frequently hear about land subsidence, which is simply nature’s method of filling in the gaps created by mining or extraction activities.

4. Overcrowded Landfills

Overcrowded landfills are one of the causes of land pollution in Zimbabwe. Every year, each family generates a certain amount of rubbish. Aluminium, plastic, paper, fabric, and wood are collected and delivered to a local recycling facility. Items that cannot be recycled end up in landfills, which detract from the city’s beauty and pollute the environment.

5. The Industrial Revolution

The industrial revolution is one of the causes of land pollution in Zimbabwe. More items are produced when the demand for food, shelter, and housing rises. As a result, there was an increase in the amount of waste that needed to be disposed of.

More industries were formed in Zimbabwe to suit the demand of the rising population, which resulted in deforestation. Modern fertilizers and chemicals were developed as a result of research and development, but they were exceedingly hazardous and contaminated the soil.

6. Urbanization 

Urbanization is one of the causes of land pollution in Zimbabwe. For at least 10,000 years, mankind has been establishing permanent communities. The majority of the cities and towns built, as well as the infrastructure they established, will be with us for thousands of years to come.

Many people do not consider human settlements to be “land pollution,” but urbanization is a substantial alteration in the environment that can result in land pollution in a variety of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. urbanization increases the waste generated in an area which would consequently lead to land pollution.

7. Construction Projects 

Construction projects are one of the causes of land pollution in Zimbabwe. A vast number of construction operations are taking place as a result of urbanization, resulting in massive waste materials such as wood, metal, bricks, and plastic that can be seen by naked eyes outside any building or office under construction.

8. Inappropriate Waste Disposal

Inappropriate waste disposal is one of the causes of land pollution in Zimbabwe. Waste in Zimbabwe is mostly dumped at locations that are not designated for waste disposal, there is no constructed landfill some people dump their waste at the roadside, abandoned buildings, in front of their gates or most likely in an open space.

This brings a good opportunity for the land to be polluted. The pollution can even affect the groundwater with time if nothing is done about it.

9. Treatment of Sewage

Treatment of sewage is one of the causes of land pollution in Zimbabwe. After the sewage has been treated, a substantial amount of solid trash remains. The surplus material is subsequently disposed of in a landfill, damaging the environment.

10. Litterin

Littering is one of the causes of land pollution in Zimbabwe. Littering is a widespread issue in both urban and rural areas. People simply put their waste on the ground, unconcerned about the environmental consequences. A common example is when people simply throw their cigarette butt on the ground. Because cigarettes include ingredients that are hazardous to the environment, they pollute the land.

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