World Environment Day is commemorated on the 5th of June every year. As part of the commemorations of this day, Telecoms Giant NetOne planted 101 indigenous trees at its Cleveland premises. This initiative was undertaken under the company’s Corporate Social Initiative pillar dubbed “One Environment”. This is premised on Sustainable Development Goal 13 which focuses on reducing the impact of Climate Change and SDG 15 which seeks to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests by combating desertification and reversing land degradation and biodiversity loss.World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations‘ principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of the environment and has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness on environmental issues. For over 5 decades, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually, and has been raising awareness, supporting action, and driving changes for the environment. Globally, major corporations, NGOs, communities, and governments adopt and advocate for various environmental causes. When asked why NetOne chose to commemorate by planting indigenous trees in Cleveland, Head Public Relations Dr. Eldrette Shereni said “NetOne is privileged to be part of the Cleveland Dam community, which is one of Zimbabwe’s 7 Ramsar sites.
This is a framework that promotes wetland conservation and the sustainable utilization and conservation of wetlands. Zimbabwe became a signatory to the convention in 2011. The fact that we are within such a vital catchment area, we need to play our part in ensuring that we take a pivotal role in the preservation of the Cleveland wetland, which is a critical part of our natural environment. Wetlands such as this one, mitigate against the adverse effects of climate change by reducing flooding, filtering out waste and pollutants, replenish our water supplies etc. Planting 101 indigenous trees today in collaboration with our neighbor Haka Game Park, is our way of replenishing the woodland which has been affected by increased tree cutting for firewood by the growing urban population, and providing sustainable and urban green spaces that will assist in the protection of our environment.”
The Dam is leased to Haka Camp who manages it in collaboration with the City of Harare. It was constructed in 1913 for water supply for the city of Harare. Cleveland Dam covers an area of 2500 hectares and has a water capacity of 910 million litres. Haka CEO Mr Muhammed Surtee said “As Haka Game Park, we are pleased to see such passion and enthusiasm shown by NetOne, and are happy to have partnered with them to plant trees today as we collectively seek to promote biodiversity, but also improve the natural habitat of over 30 mammal species within our game reserve, whilst preserving our wetland.”
Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world and provide numerous important services for people, fish and wildlife such as protecting and improving water quality, providing habitats for fish and wildlife, storing floodwaters, maintaining surface water flow during dry periods, and reducing soil erosion.