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Crisis as raw sewage flows into Mucheke River

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Crisis as raw sewage flows into Mucheke River

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SIMBARASHE MTEMBO

MIRROR REPORTER

MASVINGO – A health crisis is looming in Masvingo as thousands of litres of raw sewage are flowing into Mucheke River daily following abandoned sewer pipe works at a point between Rujeko and the river.

Albert Makuku, a site manager for Mutual Contractors, a contractor working in the area blamed Masvingo City Council for the discharge and dismissed public speculation that the company was responsible.

“The effluent is flowing into Mucheke River because council is yet to fix its main plant in Rujeko. The pipe carries effluent from Masvingo Poly and surrounding areas including Flamboyant Hotel and Target Kopje,” said Makuku. 

The Mirror visited the area yesterday and found raw sewage, diapers, and other waste directly flowing from the main sewer trunk and forming a rivulet into Mucheke River.

Masvingo Provincial Medical Director (PMD) Dr Amadeus Shamu expressed shock at the discharge. He said that the discharge poses serious health hazards to communities downstream and said his office is engaging council on the matter.

“My office was not aware of the discharges. We are going to engage council over the discharges because the community is being put at risk. Communities downstream particularly Rujeko are at risk of contracting water borne diseases,” said Shamu.

Mucheke River is not only home to aquatic life but it is one of the main sources of water for Mutirikwi Dam where Masvingo draws water for the city.

Environment Management Authority (EMA) Provincial Manager Milton Muusha said his inspectors are looking into the matter.

Masvingo mayor, Collen Maboke professed ignorance about the spillage and referred questions to the acting town engineer Kudzaishe Mbetu. Mbetu has not been answering calls.

Masvingo City spokesperson Ashleigh Jinjika told The Mirror that a team from the local authority, EMA and ZINWA visited the area and would soon be issuing a statement.

A source who spoke to the Mirror on condition of anonymity said the discharge started three weeks ago when workers from the City Council opened up the sewer line where they wanted to replace old pipes with new ones. However, they abandoned the work without completing the job and the discharge has remained since then.

Masvingo United Residents and Residents Association (MURRA) spokesperson Godfrey Mutimba said council is putting residents’ lives at risk and should prioritise fixing the disjointed pipes. https://masvingomirror.com

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