Imposing deterrent penalties is the only way to stop diamond mining companies operating in Marange from polluting rivers, which are a source of livelihood for several hundreds of families, a local environmental lobby group has said.
REPORT BY BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers’ Association (Zela) head of programme, Shamiso Mtisi, said the continued pollution of Odzi and Save rivers by diamond mining firms was evidence that penalties imposed by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) were not a deterrent.
“The government should impose heavy penalties on diamond mining firms that are tampering with environmental laws by polluting rivers,” said Mtisi. “About US$5 000 or US$10 000 is not deterrent for a diamond mining company.”
He said mining companies were seemingly comfortable with polluting rivers than investing in water management projects.
Mtisi’s statement follows an outcry by villagers in Marange and surrounding areas that mining companies were polluting rivers from which they draw water for drinking and household purposes.
villagers said mining companies were disposing chemicals that were poisonous to their livestock.
Mtisi, however, could not confirm that the death of animals was a result of water pollution by mining companies. “We have engaged scientists, who have collected water samples from Save and Odzi rivers for testing. This was after we received some reports that the suspected deaths of their livestock was a result of pollution by mining companies,” said Mtisi.
The association is currently awaiting for a report from scientists upon completion of analysis of the samples.