The City of Harare says it is removing all illegal sand selling points in the City as a measure to discourage sand poaching and damage to the environment.

Illegal sand selling is rampant in Harare, especially along major roads and highways.

Meanwhile, extensive illegal sand mining in Harare and its satellite town of Chitungwiza has damaged at least 721 hectares of land.

However, reports have also made rounds that some top municipal officers are corruptly turning a blind eye as they protect the poachers who steal sand from public land.

Despite some raids by the Environmental Management Authority, the profits are huge since sand sells for US$6 to US$8 a cubic metre at the poaching points to those using their own transport, and far more if delivered.

Apparently, the City says it won’t let sand poaching to continue as the act is harmful to the environment and defaces the image of the city.

Provincial Development Coordinator (PDC) for Harare Metropolitan, Tafadzwa Muguti recently said people caught poaching sand and illegal quarrying in Harare will be arrested and the vehicles used impounded as the activities are illegal.

Sand poaching, quarry mining and brick moulding without permits in and around Harare, have increased over the last few months, resulting in massive land degradation.

Over the years, blitzs had been carried out by EMA in conjunction with municipal and national police.