EMA Drags Chinhoyi Council To Court For Discharging Raw Sewage Into Major Rivers

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

THE Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has dragged Chinhoyi Mu-incapacity to court accusing it of spewing 18 megalitres of raw sewer into key rivers, Manyame and Hunyani daily.

EMA argues that the local authority is endangering aquatic life and downstream communities that rely on the rivers water for domestic uses.

The matter will be heard on April 21, 2022.

In a recent media alert, the environmental watchdog lamented the continued discharge leading to the deterioration of water quality supplied to the town’s residents and surrounding areas and exposing highly toxic pollutants to aquatic ecosystems.

“The continued discharge of raw sewage and industrial effluent by the council is in direct contravention of section 57(1) as read with section 70 of the Environmental Management Act Chapter 20:27, which prohibits the discharge or application of any poison or toxic, noxious or obstructing matter, radio-active waste or other pollutants into the aquatic environment in contravention of water pollution control standards,” EMA said.

This is not the first time EMA is approaching the courts for redress as previously in 2012, 2015 and 2020 the agency sought to compel council to take corrective actions.

It has also slapped Chinhoyi Municipality with penalties and environment protection orders, but no corrective measures were instituted, forcing compilation of a fresh docket.

“We remain concerned with the continued discharge of raw sewage and industrial effluent into Manyame River. We call upon the council to expeditiously put in place pollution abatement meas-ures to avoid the continued deterioration of the quality of water in Manyame River. Water pollution remains the greatest threat to biological diversity, health food chains, supply of clean water and healthy communities.”

The entire sewerage treatment system is in shambles and needs urgent rehabilitation.

The Mpata Sewage Treatment Plant is not functional resulting in the direct dis-charge of sewage from the plant into Manyame River.

Chaedza Pump Station was decommissioned resulting in sewage flowing into Hunyani River instead of Fernlea pump station, which is not functional.

The hospital pump station is also not working and waste is being diverted straight into Coldstream River, a tributary of Manyame River.

Also, the direct discharge of medical waste from Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital is worrisome due to the highly toxic and infectious nature of the waste.

Fernlea pump station is non-functional and raw sewage reaching the pump is being channelled into Manyame River instead of Hunyani sewage treatment plant, which is also not working as it needs electrical, mechanical and civil repair works.