Urban councils slammed for raw sewage dumping
THE country is headed for a serious environmental disaster and councils must work to save wetlands and stop discharging raw sewage into water bodies, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said this during the Local Government Investment (Logic) conference in Victoria Falls.
The three day inaugural conference, attended by town clerks, mayors, and town secretaries among others from 32 urban local authorities as well as rural district councils, ended yesterday. It was held under the theme: “Repositioning urban local authorities as agents for industrialisation, investment promotion, and socio-economic development.”
Minister Kasukuwere said the country’s urban centres were littered and an eyesore.
“We have a serious problem in all local authorities where most sewer plants are not working. As a result we are dumping raw sewer in water bodies and we seem to be headed towards a rough patch,” said Minister Kasukuwere.
He singled out Bulawayo, Harare and Chitungwiza for having the worst sewer disposal strategies.
The Minister blamed the environment disaster on the decision by councils to encroach on wetlands.
“Talk of Chitungwiza, Harare, Norton and Bulawayo, let’s stop allocating land on wetlands because they are critical. All Harare wetlands have been sold.
‘‘Such open spaces were left to allow cities to breathe but we are selling them and compromising our environment... can we look after our environment as local authorities,” said Minister Kasukuwere.
“Let’s think about people downstream. For Bulawayo, Umguza River is no longer habitable for water life down to Zambezi River. All frogs, fish and crocodiles have died and you can’t do fishing anymore in Umguza River. This is dangerous.”
The Minister however, commended Mutare City Council for taking notable steps in preserving the environment.
He said the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management and Environment Management Agency were failing to monitor environment degradation.
“Environment departments seem to have collapsed because the amount of litter thrown around is unbelievable. Cities are dirty while water bodies are polluted willy nilly. Underground water bodies are all affected and are poisonous. This is a national call to all of you because there is really a challenge across the country,” he said.
The Minister said there is a need for a concerted campaign against littering. — @ncubeleon