A total of 478 people have been arrested during several operations in the Matabeleland region of southwest Zimbabwe for violating environmental regulations, local authorities said on Tuesday.
The various interventions also made it possible to confiscate 31 trucks and many tools used to collect quarry sand, the Municipal Council of the city of Bulawayo said in a statement.
The director of housing and community services in the municipality, Dictor Khumalo, lamented that cutting trees in the Grand Bulawayo is a growing phenomenon, calling on the authorities to impose heavy penalties on offenders.
During the operations carried out jointly by the forest guards of Bulawayo and the region of Ncema, a total of 54 tickets were issued, allowing to collect a sum of nearly 100,000 dollars, specified the municipality.
In recent years, the Bulawayo region has faced major challenges linked in particular to the environmental risks caused by the cultivation of river banks, gold panning and tree felling, mainly in its peripheral areas.
Zimbabwean police recently launched an operation against illegal miners accused of destroying the environment and polluting water sources.
According to police services, more than 9,000 illegal gold miners have been arrested this year in a police operation against illicit mining activities across the country.