Fungai Lupande Herald Reporter
Villagers in Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe are facing a serious water crisis as gold panning activities along the Mazowe River have negatively impacted on efforts to access drinking water. In an interview one of the residents, Mr Joseph Kafura of Nyandoro village in Pfungwe, said the water is no longer potable following massive alluvial mining along the river.
Mr Kafura registered his concern that some parts of the river have dried up due to the mining activities.
“We are appealing for assistance because the mining activities have filled up our river. We are worried because we rely on this river for drinking water and other domestic activities.
“We are now digging ponds in the river in search of clean drinking water because the water running through this river is dirty,” he said.
Mr Kafura appealed to alluvial mining companies in the areas to drill boreholes for residence. The community has one borehole which is 6 kilometres away.
“We were hoping that the coming of these companies would create employment for our children but only four got jobs,” he said.
However, Environment Management Agency has warmed alluvial miner along Mazowe River against mining in the river.
Speaking to journalist during a media tour in UMP, EMA environment and publicity officer Mr Astas Mabwe encouraged miners to do their activities 30 metres away from the river.
“EMA is not happy with what is happening along Mazowe River. Most of the miners from Nyaguhwu River stretching to Rushinga are not registered.
“We are also urging the miners to regularise their papers and practice proper alluvial mining habits. So far the relationship between EMA and alluvial miners was that of a cat and a mouse,” he said.
One of the mining companies, Lightweight Pvt (Ltd), was recently fined US$5 000 for operating without an environmental impact assessment report.
Speaking to the media one of the directors of the company, Mr Garry Cornilius, said they have ceased operations in order to put in place a de-siltation programme.
“We have alredy done landscaping for the de-siltation programme which will see us taking all the material away from the river and allow the dirty water to sink in ponds before it returns clean back into the river.
“The programme is part of Zinwa initiative,” he said.