'Local authorities polluting water sources'

HARARE - Local authorities are polluting water bodies by dumping raw sewage into rivers that are supposed to provide drinking water in towns and cities, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) chief engineer Waddilove Mandiziba said.

Zinwa chief engineer Waddilove Mandiziba told the Daily News that this created challenges for the water authority as it has to dig deeper in order to purify the water.

Paradoxically, the same local authorities are among some of Zinwa largest debtors, with an unpaid water bill of $36 million.

“We recently had a problem with Bulawayo where they were polluting Umguza Dam. By so doing those downstream were accessing polluted water which put them at risk.

“Local authorities are not the only polluters as some industries are also polluting the rivers with heavy metals,” Mandiziba said.

Environmental Management Agency (Ema) spokesperson Steady Kangata said pollution is mostly rampant in cities.

He said small towns such as Mvurwi, Plumtree and Karoi which catered to small populations do not pollute water sources like their bigger brothers.

“All rivers that pass through urban centres such as Norton, Mutare, Bulawayo, and Harare were most polluted by effluent. However, most of these local authorities have been summoned before the Ema board, while some have been taken to court.

“Marondera and Masvingo are examples of cities that have been found guilty of pollution and convicted,” Kangata said.

Kangata, however, said industries that pollute water are few because they are bound by the law to have pre-treatment mechanisms before they dispose of harmful waste.

Kangata added that if any industries are found guilty they will be forced by the law to shut down until such measures are put in place to avoid pollution.

Meanwhile, Harare City Council (HCC) has been looking into replacing harsher chemicals with the introduction of Poly Aluminium Chloride, which the city claims will improve the drinking water treatment processing.

HCC waste water manager Simon Muserere said the city, in collaboration with the University of Zimbabwe, will be launching four programmes aimed at improving water quality.

“The first is named Solar Bee research and will be used to aerate Lake Chivero while also removing toxins at the same time. The machinery used in the research can target 11 hectares of water, which can clean the lake completely in five years if effectively implemented.

In February, Harare residents threatened to sue Chitungwiza Municipality for polluting Manyame River which feeds into Lake Chivero.

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