'Green Fuels polluting lowveld water sources'

HARARE - The Environmental Management Agency (Ema) has accused Green Fuels of “endangering human life and animals” through the pollution of water bodies in Chisumbanje, and where it runs an ethanol plant, parliament heard on Thursday.

Apart from producing evidence of the acidic water in the august house Thursday, the State agency director- general Mutsa Chasi said – after an initial postponement of its hearing – that the company was even operating without an environmental impact assessment (EIA) certificate.

“The company is polluting water sources in Chisumbanje, with effluent from the plant being directed into the Save River – resulting in water becoming (so) acidic (and) harmful to human beings, animals and the soil also, which in turn becomes unproductive,” Chasi told Justice Wadyajena’s key parliamentary portfolio committee on indigenisation and economic empowerment.

“The water is killing fish in the rivers and cattle (herds) are not able to drink the highly-polluted water (owing to the) effluent coming out of Green Fuels’ operation and it seems that the company is not concerned about that,” she said.

In a startling development, Chasi strongly suggested that Conrad Muller Rautenbach’s company preferred to pay $ 5 000 pollution tickets than implement a variety of recommendations to curb these environmental concerns.

“We had a meeting with Green Fuels management, who told us that they prefer paying fines rather than follow EMA laws and our recommendations, including the construction of a digester and canal to clean the effluent, which they say is expensive to follow,” she said, adding the agency has had to obtain court orders to enforce the company’s payment of the fines and abide with environmental laws.

Amid claims that the multi-million dollar company had started its project without an EIA certificate – despite several correspondences and meetings with to rectify the situation – Wadyajena said EMA had to be “pro-active in trying  to ensure that Green Fuel complies with the law and even if it meant the agency had to constantly issue tickets to the company on a daily basis, and as a  reminder that the company was violating environmental laws”.

“We have seen you (EMA) arresting lorry drivers every day and when they are carrying sand, but why not Green Fuels? You must be giving them tickets  every day, as this will make them realise that you are serious in your  work,” the Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator said in railing at what he believed was a worrying trend “in targeting small players at the expense of big companies”.

In this view and stance, Wadyajena was supported by another Zanu PF member of parliament Leonard Chikomba who said if EMA was fining Rautenbach’s company on a daily basis they could amount to $1,8 million and, therefore, possibly force the company to follow the law.

Comments (1)

they do not care. they are protected above by corrupt people

dhadhe - 29 September 2014

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