Funeral parlours deny polluting water

HARARE - Funeral parlours yesterday reiterated that they were not polluting water sources with embalming fluids or formaldehydes.

Chomi Makina, president of the Funeral Services Association (Fusa), was giving oral evidence before the Environment, Water, Tourism and Hospitality Industry on behalf of Nyaradzo Group, Moonlight Profit and Associates and Doves Funeral Services on how the funeral parlours disposed chemical liquids used in their industry.

Makina, told the committee, chaired by Zanu PF MP Anastancia Ndlovu, that embalming fluids were only injected into dead body.

“All the chemicals we are using in cleaning dead bodies are injected into the body whilst the water to wash dead bodies is disposed into the sewer line as we have agreed with the local authorities,” Makina said.

The relevant local authorities should conduct scientific tests on the water to prove that formaldehydes pollute the water, he said.

He emphasised that it should be noted that Zimbabwe practices partial embalming as opposed to the full embalming, thereby using only a small amount of the formaldehydes in funeral parlours.

He said all their 29 members have taken measures to prevent future pollution which includes disposing of all contaminated items through incinerators.

“All parlours that do not have holding tanks or disposal bins to store all contaminated items before their incineration have to put them in place immediately,” Makina said. He said the relevant authorities should conduct scientific tests on the water to prove that formaldehydes pollute the water.

“Formaldehydes are not used to wash bodies but are injected into the dead body to delay decomposition and also to keep the body in shape before burial, so their application is only internal,” he said.

He said that 99,9 percent of the fluids are buried within the dead body, with the rest being attributed to spillage and normal loss due to the process.

Makina said soon, funeral parlours will be using formaldehyde-free chemicals which are the new trend around the world in their embalming processes.

Ignatius Chombo, minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, has issued a June 30 deadline to funeral parlours to have holding tanks installed at their premises.

Chombo said the fluids, which kill bacteria in sewer purification processes, should be incinerated at local government hospitals.

Comments (4)

ut gvt hospitals have no functional incinerators?! Show me one that is working and I will bet my last cent. So what are we saying here?

Watikiritai - 24 June 2014

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As usual someone is being dishonest but who? Whoever made the accusation in the first place should prove their allegation and then proceed against the funeral parlours. It is a very serious matter and shouldn't be treated lightly.

saundy - 25 June 2014

Regulatory authorities are there to regulate and not carry out tests on behalf of allged polluters. It is the alleged polluters who should carry out tests to show that they are not discharging formaldehyde into the sewer system. The regulatory authorities can then carry out their own tests to VERIFY the alleged polluters' tests results.

Environmental ACTIVIST - 25 June 2014

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