CHITUNGWIZA residents have raised alarm over deep trenches that have been left uncovered by sand poachers who have become a law unto themselves as they harvest river sand.
Sand poachers have become a menace in the town where they are fuelling land degradation.
The illegal sand poaching activities are also creating death traps for children who frequent the area to play.
This comes hardly a year after a Chitungwiza family lost two children, who drowned in an open pit that was filled with water in the Mayambara area.
One resident, Emilda Chakanyuka, said she no longer wants her children to go and play far away from home.
“There have been a number of children who are falling into these trenches and what’s worrying is the the municipality is not doing anything about it,” she said.
“My children can no longer go and pay faraway unattended because I am really scared, I really hope that this issue will be addressed soon.”
EMA spokesperson, Amkela Sidange, revealed the seriousness of the damage being caused to the environment and the danger to human life.
“We conduct raids on sand poachers, but we don’t do that always due to insufficient resources and so the sand poachers always go back to their illegal activities,” she said.
“It is like a cat-and-mouse game, not only does sand poaching increase vulnerability to flooding in areas receiving high rainfall, but the practice of sand poaching also threatens wetlands.
“Sand poaching also affects water availability downstream, which then affects water use for climate adaptation purposes.”