August 3, 2019

Mukuvisi River choking from pollution

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Fatima Karuweni

MUKUVISI river, that flows through Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, is facing serious water pollution problems caused by industrial and domestic waste. The river’s contaminated water is posing danger to human and aquatic life.

A victim of businesses and residents who dump waste into the water body, Mukuvisi is choking from industrial and sewerage effluent. The water is dirty especially the stretch that cuts through Mbare, Harare’s most densely populated suburb. There, the water is a greenish sludge and produces an unbearable stench.

Because of the pollution some visitors to Mbare mistake the river for an open sewerage system. Some factories upstream are accused of dumping waste into the river. Industrial chemicals, raw sewage, human waste, plastic bags and bottles dumped into the river combine to form a foul smelling slime that feeds into Manyame river which flows into Lake
Chivero, Harare’s main source of water.

An investigation by ZTN News, on a part of the river from Julius Nyerere Street to Matapi police station, showed there were no signs of fish or frogs, raising fears of the death of aquatic life in Mukuvisi.

Environmental Management Authority, EMA publicity manager Amkela Sidange bemoaned the destruction of the river’s ecology system through human activities.

She told ZTN News that the levels of nutrients in Mukuvisi are higher than those recommended by the World Health Organisation.

“Pollution levels are high in the river with high concentrations of nitrates and sulphates. There is high Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) in the water among other indicators of water pollution,” Sidange explained. 

She said EMA had recently fined ZimPhos, a fertilizer manufacturing company, that had been found guilty of dumping waste into the river.

Studies done in the past by the University of Zimbabwe’s department of biological sciences have shown that Mukuvisi water contains toxins that cause cancer and damage to male reproductive organs.

Harare City Public Relations Manager Michael Chideme

So severe is the pollution that the city of Harare is spending more on water
treatment chemicals in a bid to provide clean water to residents. The city’s Public Relations Manager Michael Chideme says to reduce pollution, businesses should pre-treat waste before disposing it into Mukuvisi.

“Heavy pollution of Mukuvisi river and other water bodies in the Lake Chivero catchment area is costing the city a lot of money in the procurement of water treatment chemicals, as this means that we have to increase the quantity of chemicals,”Chideme said.

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