400 million litres raw sewage pumped into Zim rivers daily

ECC Champion

A survey recently commissioned by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) on water quality in the country’s water bodies revealed that about 400 million liters of raw sewage are being pumped daily into rivers and dams across the country.

Some of the water bodies which provide drinking water to the country’s major cities and towns have been found to be heavily polluted by sewage from the defunct sewage infrastructure in the local authorities.

The central government has blamed the opposition run local authorities for being inept and letting service delivery come to a halt.

The opposition has on the other hand accused the central government of sabotaging their efforts in service delivery.

EMA spokesperson Amkela Sidange said there was need for a robust national sewer infrastructure rehabilitation programme to avert the water pollution crisis.

“Ambient water quality results show significant pollution in urban streams compared to streams in ther areas.

“This has been largely attributed to the discharge of raw and partially treated sewage into water environments.

“As you would appreciate, our sewer infrastructure is dilapidated and overwhelmed hence the urgent need for a robust national sewer infrastructure rehabilitation and upgrading programme, as well as ring-fencing of levies paid by residents for sewer reticulation to serve that purpose only,” said Sidange.

Sidange said EMA issued 45 environmental protection orders and 244 tickets for water pollution related cases.

“In 2021 alone, a total of 45 environmental protection orders were served, 277 tickets issued and 7 court processes were initiated for water pollution related cases,” said Sidange.

The recent Auditor General’s Report flagged most local authorities for pumping raw sewage into rivers with City of Masvingo on the list because of its old Rujeko sewage pumping station.

To boost its sewage infrastructure, Masvingo launched the construction of a trunk sewer pipeline which will connect thousands of houses in Victoria Ranch and other south western residential areas.

The pumping of raw sewer into the rivers has had a bearing on the water treatment costs as well as chemicals used.

The chemicals used to treat water in Masvingo are mined at Dorowa Mine in Manicaland and the more chemicals needed to treat water, the more stress to the environment through exploitation of the water treatment chemicals.

This report was made possible through support from WAN-IFRA Media Freedom’s Strengthening African Media Programme: Climate Change and Environmental Reporting. Views expressed here do not belong to WAN-IFRA