Mercury a time bomb, says Shamu
THE increased use of mercury by thousands of artisanal miners in Mashonaland West Province without proper disposal is posing a serious risk of poisoning main water bodies, Minister of State for Mashonaland West Province Cde Webster Shamu has said.
Cde Shamu said illegal miners in Kadoma, who were using mercury were putting people’s lives at risk by poisoning the major dams.
“In Kadoma, there are illegal miners who are using mercury. This is a big risk because the mercury may be discharged in our major water bodies like Kariba and Mazvikadei dams,
“This means that the water bodies will be contaminated, affecting fish farming in Kariba and Mazvikadei, causing all those who will eat the fish from these contaminated sources to give birth to deformed children,” he said.
He said all the illegal miners had to be stopped immediately, together with those who were moulding bricks on the outskirts of the town.
“These miners need to be stopped and the issue of mercury use also needs to be looked into. We want to make sure that the livelihood of people in this province is safe,
“Those brick moulding companies and those in illegal brick moulding on the outskirts of the town also need to be removed because they are causing land degradation in our province,” he said.
According to a report issued by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) on Mashonaland West Province, inception on mercury initial assessment project in March this year, mercury was widely used in gold recovery by smallscale miners in Mashonaland West.
“In Zimbabwe, mercury is widely used in gold recovery by small-scale miners.
“In Mashonaland West Province, this is so rampant in mining hotspot areas like Chikuti, Chakari, Pickstone, Gadzema, Battlefields and Etina among many others,” EMA stated.
EMA also stated that their approach was to educate miners and the nation in general on the disposal and handling of mercury.
“As EMA, our approach to curb mercury abuse and pollution of the environment has been two fold, through environmental education and licensing on the disposal and handling of mercury,” read the report.
EMA urged miners and other mercury users to adopt and domesticate efforts being made by the agency in curbing mercury contamination and pollution.
“We continuously urge miners and other mercury users to adopt and domesticate efforts being made by the agency in curbing mercury contamination and pollution,” it said