Ur­ban coun­cils slammed for raw sewage dump­ing

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Leonard Ncube

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

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