A cabinet committee led by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo on Tuesday read the riot act to companies allegedly polluting the country’s water system as experts warn of an impending major health crisis.
The committee summoned the companies, among them, Delta Beverages, the Cold Storage Company, Schweppes, Ingwebu, Trade Kango and several funeral parlors.
Sources told VOA Studio 7 that the minister warned the companies to immediately look for safer ways to dispose their waste, adding stiffer penalties would be imposed on those who fail to heed the government’s call.
Officially opening the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) late last month President Robert Mugabe expressed dismay at the quality of water being consumed by residents saying doctors had told the government it was contaminated with sewage.
A report compiled by permanent secretaries of various ministries cited funeral parlors, service stations, fuel holding depots and food processing plants as the leading polluters in the country.
Chombo said the government has given the companies six weeks to clean up their act.
The Harare City Council has also been cited as one of the major polluters.
Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said the city is facing a crisis because of polluted water systems.
Apart from Harare, mining communities have also been hit-hard by pollution.
Chairman of the Chiadzwa Community Development Trust Malvin Mudiwa who says the rich Chiadzwa diamond area has been seriously affected by polluting companies.
The cabinet committee has recommended that the Ministry of Environment should immediately gazette a statutory instrument enforcing the “polluter pays principle”.
But environment lawyer Shamiso Mtisi said Zimbabwe has adequate laws that are not being implemented to prevent disasters.