Some police officers were chased away by armed sand poachers who had invaded the Cleveland Dam Catchment area recently to extract sand for selling.
The incident was reported by the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) which has called for the protection of these areas.
The armed and dangerous sand poachers usually poach the sand which is then sold to those who use it for construction purposes.
“Armed and dangerous illegal and poachers have invaded the wetland located in the Cleveland Dam Catchment area which is wetland protected under the Ramsar Convention.
“Last week attempts by the Zimbabwe Republic to stop the wetland destruction were resisted by the ‘armed and fearless’ sand poachers who overpowered officers.
The officers reportedly ran away after being attacked by the poachers.
According to CHRA, “illegal sand poachers have been marauding like machete gangs and have been untouchable.
“CHRA calls for an urgent intervention to stop illegal sand mining that has caused serious land degradation and causing siltation in dams that supply the city with water.
“In light of the destruction of wetlands CHRA condemns any form of destruction on wetlands as it has serious implications on water provision for the city in view of climate change,” it added.
Sand mining has increased rapidly due to the increasing construction of houses and the rampant unemployment in the country.
However, the practice is destroys wetlands and is against the principles of the Ramsar Convention which seeks to protect and preserve wetlands.
Zimbabwe is a signatory of the Ramsar Convention and has designated various wetlands as protected areas.
Wetlands are also protected under the Environmental Management Act 20:27 and the Environmental Assessment and Ecosystem Protection Regulations of 2007.