THE Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) has raised alarm over a potential health hazard at Sandawana Primary School in Mberengwa, Midlands province, where lithium mining is taking place about eight metres from the school premises.
The union revealed that dust from mining activities was exposing learners and teachers to health hazards.
Artuz leader Obert Masaraure said the situation had forced some students and teachers to withdraw from the school.
“We have learners and teachers who have withdrawn from the school due to the mining activities taking place close to the school. The quality of education for our students has been compromised because of noise that is affecting the learners and teachers,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that the government chooses profits over the wellbeing of the learners and teachers. As Artuz, we have since engaged with the relevant government bodies, but we never received a response.”
Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said he was in a meeting when contacted for comment.
Mines minister Zhemu Soda was not reachable on his mobile phone.
However, Masaraure said: “If government decides that its mining activity in the area is more important, they should in turn come up with an alternative solution for the school and its learners.”
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In Bulawayo, a perimeter fence and precast wall belonging to Amaswazi Primary School collapsed recently due to vibrations from quarry mining activities taking place a few metres from the school.
Earlier this year, 14 pupils were injured at Globe and Phoenix Primary School in Kwekwe when a classroom block collapsed into an illegal mineshaft.