Mazowe River bridge is in danger of collapse due to brazen illegal miners who are digging along the river and next to the support pillars of the bridge.
The wanton destruction by the miners has also stopped the natural flow of the river.
Located 10km from Bindura linking the mining town to Mt Darwin, Rushinga and Mukumbura, Mazowe Bridge faces imminent collapse if gold panners continue illegal mining along the river.
The miners have left a trail of destruction which has blocked the flow of the river which supplies water to Bindura and Shamva.
The Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Province, Senator Monica Mavhunga who toured the bridge and the Bindura water treatment plant to assess damage, has activated government departments backed by law enforcement agencies to come up with a strategy to end the illegal activities.
“What we have seen shows that there is no more water in the river. There are illegal miners who have dug holes, thus diverting the course of the river. The river is now drying up such that wheat farmers can no longer irrigate and their crops are in distress, so as the provincial leadership, we are here to see and put our heads together on what needs to be done to protect our infrastructure. Our committee led by the Provincial Administrator will travel along the river and then we sit down and strategize on the way forward,” she said.
Apart from the illegal mining, land cultivation within the river’s reserve area are also fuelling siltation of the river.
Awareness on safeguarding water infrastructure will be the starting point in curbing the illegal mining activities along the river, according to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA).
“Alone we cannot curb these activities but if we combine efforts with EMA, the Forestry Commission and all government departments, we can mitigate this disaster and rehabilitate the environment,” said Mr Brian Madondo, the ZINWA Mazowe Catchment Area Outreach Officer
A huge part of Mazowe River is subjected to illegal mining activities, with some miners setting up alluvial mining operations near the Bindura water treatment plant.