Residents in Msasa and Hatfield Park Meadowlands risk contracting waterborne diseases owing to the use of polluted and contaminated water from boreholes by nearby chemical manufacturing factories.
The City of Harare has not been able to supply tap water to the suburbs for years and the residents have now resorted to using borehole water despite their area being surrounded by hazardous chemical manufacturing firms.
Africa Anglophone, International Alliance of Women(IAW) vice president, Rita Marque-Mbatha has petitioned the Acting Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, seeking his intervention to save the residents after all efforts to engage the Environment Management Agency (EMA) have been futile.
“We implore you, for the sake of the community, our friends, the environment, the women and children we work with and the generations yet to be, to tackle this problem now! We need your help Honourable Minister. We need action. If this reckless treatment of the environment is to be curbed action needs to be taken now! The level of inactivity, with regard to the circumstances of the community is highly disturbing,” she said in a letter dated June 14, 2019 addressed to Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Minister Priscah Mupfumira before she was incarcerated for criminal abuse of office.
“The failure to investigate the complaint constitutes a failure by the Environmental Management Agency to comply with its constitutional mandate. What is frightening is that the school children passing by drink the said water and there is no signage to alert the would be consumers for the danger. One needs not to be an expert to know that the water is acutely dangerous.”
Mbatha again wrote to the Acting Minister Ndlovu on July 31 2019 concerning the inactivity of EMA by refusing to release the tested water results with a view to warn the residents for using polluted water.
“We would like to register a complaint regarding the inactivity after a complaint of pollution of water was lodged with them (EMA) and we request a meeting with you to resolve the matter. As the Honourable Minister responsible for Environmental Management, Natural Resources Management and Organizational Support and Development we humbly request your intervention to do what is within your authority under the law and personally take whatever steps are necessary to vindicate the community’s rights. Communications have been made in vain the level of inactivity with regards to the circumstances of the residence of Msasa and Hatfield Park Meadowlands is with respect gross. Needless to say the health issues are extremely worrying,” Mbatha said.
“If this reckless treatment of the environment is to be curbed EMA should be forced to discharge its statutory imposed obligation to bring polluters to account.”
Efforts to get comment from EMA spokesperson, was fruitless as his office said he is out of the country on official business.