OPPOSITION MDC-T legislator Prosper Mutseyami has accused Chinese diamond firms in Chiadzwa of dumping toxic chemicals along Odzi and Saver rivers, leading to an upsurge in cases of stillbirths among people and livestock.
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
The Musikavanhu MP made the claims during a mining legislation workshop for parliamentarians in Kadoma last Friday.
“Chinese companies in Chiadzwa are polluting Odzi and Save rivers which are almost 270 kilometres, and when cattle drink water their stomachs swell, and they have stillbirths and eventually die in a year,” Mutseyami said.
“The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) was told about the issue and now women are also experiencing stillbirths at surrounding hospitals.”
Mangwe MP Obedingwa Mguni (Zanu PF) said at Mpoeings, cyanide poisoning in water sources caused cattle to fall ill and due to ignorance people consumed the meat.
He said one person died and 30 people had since been hospitalised for consuming contaminated meat.
“We reported the issues to police, but up to now the culprits have not been caught,” he alleged.
EMA official Chris Mushava confirmed receiving reports of massive water pollution from villagers in Chiadzwa.
“We have tried to enforce the law to ensure there are slime dams that hold their effluent so that they do not pollute the water.
Most of the miners now have the slime dams” Mushava said.
“However, our problem as law enforcers is in order to go to Chiadzwa, we need to apply for written permission which takes seven days as it is a protected area. By the time we get clearance and we go to do our checks, the polluters would have hidden the evidence,” he said.
Mushava said there was need to strengthen environmental laws and charge deterrent fines above the current $5 000.
He said environmental pollutants in Botswana and Zambia were charged $15 000 and
$25 000 respectively.
He said mining companies found it cheaper to pay pollution fines than invest in pollution reduction equipment.