Unprotected water sources for resource-rich Chirumhanzu

Yeukai Munetsi

Communities of Area 22 and Mahamara in Chirumhanzu make use of water from an abandoned ZIMASCO mine as they do not have alternative potable water sources.

The water in the gapping pit is not protected and is believed to be poisoned by chemicals but lack of better options means communities have to live with that.

The only single borehole available is used by Chinese nationals working in the mines.

Munyaradzi Masimba (22), a resident in Area 2, said without the disused pit abandoned by ZIMASCO mining operations, the communities would be facing severer hardships.

“Since we moved to this village, no boreholes have been sunk. The only borehole around is owned by the Chinese and is for them only hence our reliance on the open pit from which we all fetch water to drink and for other household uses,” said Masimba.

A health worker from Lalapanzi said she was worried that people could be contracting various illnesses due to slow poisoning.

“I am personally worried about the situation at Area 2 as they are using the same water source for washing, cooking and even bathing. Some pregnant women who deliver at home dispose the waste in the same source of water.

“No research has been carried out to see if the water is safe to drink but water from abandoned mines usually contain chemicals which are highly toxic to humans, animals and plants. Some of the effects on humans are life threatening as they cause chronic illnesses,” the health worker said.

This project was made possible through a partnership with the Southern Africa Trust. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent that of the Trust or its associates. www.southernafricatrust.org