Results  Of Suspected Fish Poisoning At Fern Valley Dam Expected: EMA

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Felix Matasva

MUTARE: The national environment watchdog, Environmental Management Agency (EMA) says test results of samples that were taken in order to ascertain the cause of massive devastation in marine life within Fern Valley Dam are expected to be out Friday.

In a suspected case of water envenoming by fish vendors, residents in Fern Valley Sunday were appalled by a discovery of a shoal of dead fish floating all over Fern Valley Dam.

The massive decimation of fish and other aqua-life within Fern Valley Dam faced public outcry on social media this week as many raised awareness for residents to be cautious when buying fish from vendors who operate in the eastern border town.

In an interview Thursday with, Manicaland provincial EMA manager, Kingstone Chitotombe confirmed that results of water and dead fish samples which were taken will be ready Friday.

“We are expecting to have more information about the test results tomorrow (Friday). We will share the results with the media since it is information meant for,” he said.

“We will map a way forward after establishing if Fern Valley Dam is still a safe and friendly environment for aqua-life and other domestic animals since the dam serves as a source of drinking water,” said Chitotombe.

In a statement Wednesday, a local youth-oriented rights group, Manica Youth Assembly (MAYA) urged law enforcers to urgently investigate the matter and ensure the residents are not posed a health hazard.

The rights group also called for the City of Mutare to be given the authority to oversee the dam and its maintenance.

“MAYA urges law enforcement agencies to upscale their investigations regarding this criminal action while the City of Mutare must be authorised to run and maintain the dam,” it said.

“We understand that there are ownership issues involved, but we, however, believe the local authority is better placed to protect and manage the dam.

“EMA must also up their game and be more visible, lest very soon, there will be no environment for the agency to manage. Furthermore, since this is more of a public health matter, we await quick action by all concerned stakeholders especially EMA and the Health ministry.

“Citizens must act responsibly towards fellow beings and the environment hence they must support the City of Mutare, EMA and police as they manage the environment under confines of their own capacities,” reads part of MAYA’s statement gleaned by

“The water and fish are now a poisoned chalice putting people and a whole range of biodiversity that rely on the Fern Valley Dam water in great danger. Water from Fern Valley Dam proceeds to Dora river which joins Sakubva river 5km downstream, which itself is a tributary of Odzi river.

“We challenge responsible authorities to urgently investigate the type of chemical or poison that was placed in the dam and possible effect it may have on humans and biodiversity in the immediate and intermediate future, ” MAYA warned in a statement.

Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Luxon Chananda said police were waiting for tests results from EMA to proceed with their investigations on the incident.

“We have received reports and we are waiting for results from environmental authorities so as to prove what transpired and also to forge a way forward,” he said.