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Lake Kariba pollution riles stakeholders

Local News

A NUMBER of tourism stakeholders in Kariba have expressed concern over the increase in pollution in Lake Kariba.

Lake Kariba is reeling from massive pollution ranging from boat oils to litter left on the shores by residents and tourists who flock to the lakeside for fishing, nature walks and picnics.

The accumulated debris has reportedly now become a serious threat to human health.

“In areas with high concentrations of tourist activities and appealing natural attractions, waste disposal is a serious problem and improper disposal can be a major despoiler of the natural environment — rivers, scenic areas, and roadsides,” said Kariba Tourism and Business indaba co-ordinator, Cephas Shonhiwa.

According to Shonhiwa, garbage floating on Lake Kariba is posing a serious threat to aquatic life and human health and has the potential to drive away tourists.

It is estimated that some 270 marine species worldwide are affected by ingestion of marine trash. This includes 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% all seabird species and 43% of all marine mammal species.

“For example, boats in Lake Kariba are estimated to produce thousands of waste each year,” Shonhiwa said. “Solid waste and littering can degrade the physical appearance of the water and shoreline and cause the death of aquatic animals.”

He suggested enactment of waste management policies to deal with the growing presence of plastic waste among other rubbish that is being discarded into the lake, on shore, or brought indirectly to Lake Kariba by other rivers, through sewage, storm water or wind.

Kariba Urban Residents Association spokesperson, Samson Coffee, said the resort town was also suffering from air pollution.

“In addition to causing annoyance, stress, and even hearing loss to humans, it (air pollution) causes distress to wildlife, especially in sensitive areas. For instance, noise generated by kapenta rigs can cause animals to alter their natural activity patterns,” he said.

Kariba Incorporated Area Residents Ratepayers Association executive chairperson, Sam Mawawo said there must be heavy penalties against litterbugs.

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