The Chron­i­cle

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

BU­L­AWAYO, Fri­day, Novem­ber 17, 1966 — A Lowveld river be­came a wa­ter­course of death for thou­sand of fish which suf­fo­cated and died in mo­lasses-pol­luted pools, a mag­is­trate’s court heard today. Gov­ern­ment fish bi­ol­o­gist, Mr Frank JR Junor, said that along the 15-mile stretch of the Ma­mande and Lundi Rivers, dead fish lined the banks.

Thou­sands of oth­ers rose to the sur­face to try to get oxy­gen, but one by one they died. “It was a ter­ri­ble sight and noth­ing could be done to save them”, he said.

Mr Junor was giv­ing ev­i­dence in a case in which Hippo Val­ley Es­tates (Pvt) Ltd, was con­victed of de­posit­ing 757 tonnes of mo­lasses into the Ma­mande and Lundi rivers.

Mr Bar­rie Day, rep­re­sent­ing the com­pany, in his ca­pac­ity as gen­eral man­ager, was told by mag­is­trate, Mr LC Mino, that the dis­charge of such large quan­ti­ties of mo­lasses was an “act of neg­li­gence”.

Mr Mino ad­journed the case to Fort Vic­to­ria for sen­tence on December 1. Mr Junor told the court that in July he went to var­i­ous points along the Lundi River. He found fish dy­ing by their thou­sands.

Sam­ples taken from the wa­ter showed it con­tained lit­tle or no oxy­gen. The wa­ter was yel­low and emit­ted a lethal gas. “All the symp­toms were con­sis­tent with the chem­i­cal re­ac­tion from large quan­ti­ties of mo­lasses be­ing dumped there”.

Mr Adrian DP Bel­lamy, a sec­re­tary with Hippo Val­ley Es­tates, said his com­pany had been posed with “a mo­lasses prob­lem” since UDI.

The loss of reg­u­lar ex­port mar­kets had meant that they were now hav­ing to store mo­lasses in large quan­ti­ties un­til al­ter­na­tive mar­kets could be found. Be­tween June 20and July 1, 757 tonnes of mo­lasses pro­duced at the Hippo Val­ley mills had been put in a spe­cially con­structed stor­age dam.

And it was from there, the court was told, that the mo­lasses had over­flowed into a drain which led to a wa­ter course feed­ing the Ma­mande River. The mo­lasses then flowed into the Ma­mande River. Mr Day pleaded not guilty on his com­pany’s be­half.

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