MUTOKO district administrator Cephas Mudavanhu has challenged quarrying companies extracting black granite in the area to be socially responsible by rehabilitating the environment. Speaking in an interview at Mutoko Centre after welcoming members of a "walkathon" team that walked from Harare to Mutoko on Friday to raise tree planting awareness, Mr Mudavanhu said the companies were destroying trees, grass, the soil and wildlife.
"They are destroying trees in the mountains and the heavy trucks they use to ferry the granite are not suitable for the soils around here, so they are causing excessive degradation of the environment," he said.
"The companies should at least demonstrate their knowledge of good corporate governance by rehabilitating the places from which they would have extracted the black granite."
Mr Mudavanhu said those who participated in the walkathon were engaged in a noble fight to save the environment. He said they needed the support of the communities and policy makers through enacting laws that protected the trees being planted. A total of 180 people from different organisations teamed up for the walkathon for more than 145 kilometres from Harare to Mutoko.
A non-governmental organisation, Friends for the Environment, organised the walkathon that started last Wednesday and ended in Mutoko on Friday. The walkers planted 2 500 trees at Bhora in Chikwaka and 1 500 trees at Murewa Centre, while 1 300 trees were planted at Mutoko Centre. A further 2 200 trees were set to be planted at Katsukunya Secondary School in Mutoko where OK Zimbabwe sponsored the establishment of a nursery.
An official with Nyaradzo Funeral Assurance, Patience Fusire, said the team's objective was to plant 7 500 trees cumulatively from Bhora to Mutoko as a way of educating communities on the need to plant trees to replace those that they would have cut. Standard Chartered Bank, OK Zimbabwe, CBZ Bank, Kingdom Bank, National Parks and Wildlife, The Herald and Forestry Commission were part of the event that was also supported by the police and the army. In 2010, the walkathon was from Gweru to Harare where trees were planted at selected sites. Last year, the walkathon was from Harare to Mutare.