Shurugwi – Shurugwi villagers are up in arms against Unki Mine which they accuse of polluting Mutevekwi River to the extent that people cannot bath or allow their cattle to drink the water.
The most affected areas are Gutsaruzhinji, Chironde, Adare Farm and Dzikamidzi, according to the villagers who talked to The Mirror.
Environmental Management Authority (EMA) District Officer, Serevino Kangara confirmed the complaints and said the turbidity (suspended material) in Mutevekwi is too much and EMA has since ordered Unki to control the discharge from its operations.
It is thought that pollution is coming from the mine’s slime dam.
Tamuka Ncube from Chironde Growth Point said the water in the river is no longer suitable for laundry, bathing, irrigation or for cattle to drink. He said villagers who bath in the river get skin irritations.
Unki, a Anglo American Platinum Limited owned company is one of the largest miners of platinum in Zimbabwe employing about 2 000 workers and 1 200 contractors. Its operations are a stone throw from Shurugwi, one of the country’s biggest mining towns.
“The water in the river is milky which is a sign that suspended solids which should settle before discharge are too high. The discharge should be within permissive standards but as it is its turbidity is high. We have ordered Unki to control such discharge,” said Kangara.
Efforts to get a comment from Unki Mine were futile.
Tongogara Rural District Council (RDC) vice chairman Golden Kapeta said the local authority is seized with the matter and samples of water from the river have since been sent to laboratories for tests.
“We heard the complaints and we are acting to assist the affected communities. Samples are being taken today for analysis and Unki Mine has been engaged as well,” said Kapeta.
“Water from Mutevekwi is no longer suitable for laundry, bathing, irrigation or drinking. We don’t know what will happen to our cattle if they drink this water so everyone is keeping their domestic animals from Mutevekwi River. Villagers who have bathed with water from the river have suffered skin irritations.
“We appeal to EMA, Tongogara RDC and the District Development Co-ordinator to intervene as a matter of urgency,” said Ncube.https://masvingomirror.com