Zimbabwe: Mutare Says No to Farm Brick Use

The City of Mutare has banned the use of farm bricks for construction of commercial, industrial and residential structures, complying with a directive from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).

Town clerk Mr Joshua Maligwa confirmed the development in an interview with The Herald.

He said the council was given a deadline to ensure use of farm bricks was banned in the interest of protecting the environment.

"EMA made a decision as use of farm bricks promotes destructive practices to the environment, particularly rampant deforestation as large quantities of firewood are used in the process," said Mr Maligwa.

He said the move was also in line with the city's Smart City endeavour.

"City of Mutare, as a progressive local authority, has a master plan which envisages transforming the city into a Smart City, hence the use of farm bricks will compromise the new thrust," said Mr Maligwa.

EMA engineering and technical services director Mr Maxwell Kerith said: "Only bricks that shall be used for construction of all approved buildings are cement bricks, face bricks and industrial bricks.

"Conditions on the submission of plans would include specifications on the types of bricks to be used."

Mr Kerith said destruction of trees exposed the city to dangers posed by natural disasters like Cyclone Idai.

"It has been noted the use of farm bricks involves the use of a lot of firewood, hence the immense effect on deforestation and extinction of natural habitants in the urban and rural environments," he said.

"Excavation of clay soil, which is the major source of material for making farm bricks, has caused serious land degradation.

"Environmental pollution has been on the peak, with firewood is being used to burn the bricks."

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