Residents Aocate for Delta Protection

| May 6, 2015

Residents of Seronga and surrounding villages have complained about fishermen who pollute the Okavango Delta.

They aired their concerns during a kgotla meeting that Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mr Phillip Makgalemele, addressed in the area recently.

Mr Makgalemele said while the community had done its best to preserve the Okavango Delta, fishermen who relocated from Lake Ngami in large numbers were frustrating their efforts by polluting the environment.

The fishermen relocated to the Okango Delta after government suspended fishing at the lake for a year. Residents called on government to remove the fishermen from the area given that lack of ablution facilities and indiscriminate waste disposal left the delta in a mess.

They said while government allowed communities around the delta concessions to generate income to develop their villages, it was unfortunate that some people still did not appreciate the dangers of indiscriminate waste disposal.

They said the delta was a source of income for them, hence reckless use of the resource could result in poverty in the area.Kgosi Bayei Maeze of Seronga said the sight of waste around the delta was a concern and an eyesore given that the World Heritage Committee recently declared the delta the 1000th World Heritage Site, thus the need to preserve and maintain its pristine beauty.

Kgosi Maeze said the listing of the delta as a world heritage site meant certain obligations and expectations from government.

“We have a responsibility as the community and our investors to make sure that this amazing resource is utilised in a sustainable and responsible manner,” he said.

Kgosi Maeze also aised the community to use natural resources in a sustainable manner to avoid depletion. He said the delta was the backbone of the country’s tourism industry and an alternative engine of economic growth.

Not only is the delta home to various species of flora and fauna, it is also a source of livelihood for the communities, he added. He also observed that countries competed through tourism, hence Batswana should jealously look after this precious gift.

Meanwhile, Kgosi Maeze lamented that while hunting had been banned in the delta, they had received some reports of poaching since fishermen started flocking to the area.

“We do not want fights and I appeal to government to remove the fishermen from the delta and ensure we adhere to the requirements of being a world heritage site,” he pleaded.

For his part, Mr Makgalemele hailed residents for taking the lead in protecting and conserving the delta.

He said government continued to support conservation management and sustainable development of natural resources through a number of initiatives. Mr Makgalemele noted that government was committed and obliged to preserve the delta in its pristine nature.

For his part, an official from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Mr Mogotsi Modise said arrangements had been made with some dikgosi to allow fishermen to fish in their areas.

He said to address issues of environmental concerns, they agreed that the fishermen should find accommodation in the village where there are ablution facilities instead of camping around the delta.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: General

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