By Staff Reporter
THE Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has slapped Gweru City Council with over $1 million fine for discharging effluent into water bodies.
Presenting a 2020 end of year report on the state of the city, mayor Josiah Makombe said the raw sewage polluting nearby streams and rivers was not only affecting residents but heavily costing council in terms of EMA penalties.
“My council notes with great concern the rate of sewer blockages sprouting citywide,” Makombe said.
“As much as this is affecting residents, it is also costing council in terms of penalties from EMA as we have already been fined for pollution to the tune of $1 054 345 for the month of December 2020.”
Makombe urged residents to desist from dumping litter in sewer drains saying this was largely contributing to increased blockages.
The Midlands capital has been relying on obsolete sewer infrastructure that is more than three decades old.
Last year, Makombe said the local authority will this year prioritise the refurbishment of water and sanitation equipment.
But Gweru United Progressive Residents and Ratepayers Development Association Trust executive director David Chikore blamed council for failing to replace archaic sewer infrastructure, some set up prior to independence in 1980.
“It is unfortunate that we have equipment, some as old as 40 years and yet city fathers continue with their rhetoric on the need to replace the infrastructure,” Chikore said.
“When you have raw sewage flowing onto the streets and polluting water bodies, you risk the health of residents and penalties alone from authorities are not the lasting solution. Council should also walk the talk and substitute this out-dated sewer system.”
In recent years, there have been outbreaks of waterborne diseases in the city which not only affected thousands of residents but also claimed lives.