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Zimbabwe’s Harare Council Continues to Pump Raw Sewage into Fresh Water Lake


Town Clerk Mahachi said the entire city sewage system had collapsed and the council has secured funding from government, the African Development Bank and China to rehabilitate and expand the system

With typhoid still an active concern in many suburbs of Harare, Zimbabwe, Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi revealed Monday that the city has continued to pump 90 megalitres of raw sewage a day into Lake Chivero for lack of treatment capacity.

Mahachi told Parliament’s committee on natural resources and environment that the problems is compounded by Chitungwiza Town Council which is releasing 60 megalitres of raw sewage a day into Lake Chivero, resulting in huge water treatment costs.

He said the city’s main sewage treatment plant at Firle can only process 54 megalitres of its normal 144 megalitres capacity. Mahachi said the city is using nine chemicals costing some $2 million monthly to ensure that residents are receiving safe water.

Mahachi said the entire city sewage system had collapsed and council has had to secure funding from central government, African Development Bank and China to rehabilitate and expand the system. He noted that the Harare water system was designed for a population of 250,000 - one tenth of the current population of the capital.

Mahachi said the council intends to expand the sewage system to handle the waste of four million people because new suburbs are being constructed around Harare.

He said sewage system rehabilitation and expansion should be completed by year's end.

Harare City Council has on many occasions been fined by the Environmental Management Authority for polluting the environment and failing to collect refuse. But Mahachi said the council will not pay the fines as it is contesting some of them.

Mahachi said Harare will start cleaning and collecting refuse in the city center at night to ensure personnel and refuse trucks work in crowded suburbs during the day.

He said the council, in conjunction with the EMA and the police, beginning next month will start arresting residents and shop owners caught littering. This includes motorists whose vehicles will be impounded if they are caught throwing litter onto the streets.

Harare Residents Trust Director Precious Shumba said the town clerk lacks competency in municipal management and has no capacity handle environmental issues.

Shumba said the fact that Mahachi admits the city continues to release raw sewage into the water proves poor planning, explaining why typhoid outbreaks continue.

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