The issue of water pollution in Harare’s source of drinking water, Lake Chivero, has become a cause for concern.
While there are other sources of pollution, industries have been cited as the biggest culprits.
In a world where most people are becoming environmentally conscious and where greening of economies has become the number one priority for other countries, the situation is different when it comes to Zimbabwe.
While industries and companies in other countries are making sure that everything they do is environmental friendly, Zimbabwean companies are on the forefront of polluting drinking water.
The continued industrial and sewer pollution of the Mukuvisi and Manyame rivers that flow directly into Lake Chivero which is Harare’s main source of drinking water tells it all.
In a no holds barred name and shame, Environment and Natural Resources Management Minister, Cde Francis Nhema last week challenged companies to take responsibility.
In a sad development, most of the companies that were named for polluting have refused to be accountable and are not prepared to take corrective action.
A visit or phone call by ZBC to some of the companies revealed that the situation is far from being solved as some of them refused to comment while others believed they are not responsible for any pollution. Some of the companies have been issued with tickets and a penalty of up-to level 14 of US$5 000.
However, environmentalists believe there is need for a review of these laws arguing that the penalty is not deterrent enough. Some blamed the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) for its failure to monitor companies which would have been issued with certificates of compliance.
Members of the public believe the problem lies with the failure by EMA to perform its role.
Meanwhile, the City of Harare says it has begun a crackdown on companies that are not adhering to the pollution laws. The nature of the pollutants released from the polluting companies varies from sulphuric acid, used mineral oils, nitrates, phosphates, gypsum, sodium hydroxide and paints.
The cocktail of pollutants result in the city council using 9 chemicals at a cost of US$2 million every month to treat the city’s drinking water. Such costs are passed on to ordinary rate payers.