Deforestation is now a huge environmental crisis in Mutare, with residents continuing to cut down trees in forests around the city as authorities fail to control the situation.

With trees being chopped down on a daily basis, land degradation, disturbance of the ecosystem and high rate of soil erosion leading to siltation of rivers are crises that are becoming a cause for concern for Mutare residents.

National Tree Ambassador, Mr Never Bonde said Mutare is losing its aesthetic beauty owing to deforestation, as the city fathers are proving to be impotent.

He also pointed out the need to educate people on the importance of preserving indigenous trees.

“People are cutting down trees in this area and now the situation has been worsened by the load-shedding. City council once said that they will station rangers to man this area but we are not seeing them anywhere,” he said.

“Manicaland is abundant with indigenous trees like Musasa and Mutondo, which are not found in many areas. These trees take many years to grow and people should be educated on the importance of preserving these trees as they also help in making rains,” Bonde added.

Mutare City Council Public Relations Officer, Mr Spren Mutiwi revealed that the city’s rangers are being eluded by people who are cutting down trees, adding that it is the duty of every citizen to preserve the environment.

“We are in a scenario where we are playing cat and mouse with people who are engaging in these activities as it is their source of income. It is our humble plea, as a local authority, that issues of the environment are not only confined to the city fathers, but each and every person, to ensure that we preserve our environment. So let’s join hands collectively and ensure that we enforce all those who are engaging in such activities,” said Mutiwi.

Scientists say people have about 12 years to turn around the environmental crisis or else the damage will be irreversible as climatic disasters like cyclones and floods will become constant.