Bulawayo City Council has written to Government seeking borrowing powers to raise $13,3 million from financial institutions to purify rivers that are spilling raw sewage and hazardous effluent into the Umguza catchment area. The council also intends to use part of the funds to fix broken down sewer pipes in Nkulumane and Sauerstown suburbs.
In an interview yesterday, Bulawayo mayor councillor Martin Moyo called on companies that were polluting the Umguza catchment area to set up waste purification plants.
Clr Moyo said no health disaster was looming in Bulawayo as the affected water bodies — Mazai and Pekiwe Rivers — were downstream in the Umguza catchment area, far from the city’s water sources.
“We have applied for borrowing powers from the Government so that we are able to raise $13,3 million to fix burst sewer pipes in Nkulumane and Sauerstown which are spilling raw sewage into Mazai and Pekiwe Rivers,” he said.
“These rivers then spill into Umguza River polluting it in the process. Once we have done away with the sewer burst pipes, we want to de-pollute Mazai and Pekiwe Rivers.”
Clr Moyo said council was concerned about the level of pollution in the Umguza catchment area.
“Let me reiterate that we are not drinking polluted water,” he said.
“There is no health disaster looming for Bulawayo. Yes, it might be there for the people who might drink water downstream in Nyamandlovu and we are concerned about their health but for Bulawayo residents, they are drinking safe water.
“Our drinking water is coming from the east and the sewage and hazardous effluent are flowing to the west.”
Clr Moyo said a Cabinet task-force on pollution was assisting council in solving the problem of pollution.
The task-force, which is chaired by Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo and comprises five ministries including Health and Child Care, Environment, Water and Climate, Local Government Public and Public Works and National Housing, is assisting the council.
A recent report prepared by the cabinet taskforce on the pollution of Umguza River and its tributaries exposed an environmental disaster that is unfolding in the affected areas.
Companies fingered in the report for polluting included Delta Beverages, Schweppes, Ingwebu Breweries, Colcom, CSC, Treger Kango and United Refineries.