Home » Governance » Govt Gets Tough On Water Polluters

Government has ordered the closure of all tanneries until they put measures in place to drastically reduce the amount of pollutants they are releasing into the drinking water system.

Further, all other industries have been given six weeks to refurbish or install new effluent pre-treatment plans at their sites, failing which they will be closed.

Tanneries discharge heavy and poisonous metals such as arsenic, chromium sodium chloride, organic solids, dyes and paints which are all harmful to human, animal and aquatic life.

Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Cabinet Committee on Water Pollution, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo yesterday said: “Local authorities, Environmental Management Agency and the National Social Security Authority shall regularly monitor to ensure compliance.

“As a remedial measure, all service stations have been directed to install oilsilt interceptors at their properties by June 30, 2014. It has been considered prudent that integrity checks be carried out by the operators under supervision of EMA and local authorities.”

He said food outlets and food processing plants discharged organic solids, oils and fats into sewer reticulation systems, thereby causing blockages and must thus install new effluent pre-treatment plants by June 30, 2014.

Funerals parlours have been ordered to install holding tanks that transmit fluids to incinerators at Government hospitals, while in the long term they should all have approved effluent pre-treatment plants.

Beverage producers must all have neutralising tanks to treat alkaline substances by the same deadline.

“Abattoirs produce fats, organic solids and liquids as by-products. However, it is disheartening to note that such products are discharged directly into our water bodies and the environment in general without the necessary prerequisite pre-treatment, hence posing threats to human, animal and aquatic life.

“In order to remediate the situation, all operators have been instructed to immediately install new or repair pre-treatment plants by June 30, 2014,” he said.

The Cabinet committee was established in line with the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) to probe causes of water pollution and raw sewage disposal, and to rectify the situation. It has since established that service stations, premises of transport operators garagescar repair workshops are discharging oil, grease and silt that pollute underground water.

Such pollutants end up in the sewer reticulation system, causing corrosion and consequently pipe leakages and bursts.

The Cabinet committee is composed of the ministries of Finance and Economic Development Energy and Power Development Industry and Commerce Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Mines and Mining Development and Health and Child Care.

Source : The Herald