The Environment Management Agency (EMA) has accused local authorities and industry of not taking environmental problems seriously, saying it is exacerbating water pollution, millions of liters of sewage crude being dumped into bodies of water.
A recent survey by Ema showed that almost 400 million liters of raw sewage was discharged into water bodies including the Umguza River, Lake Manyame, Lake Chivero and the Sebakwe Dam.
This has compromised the quality of drinking water in some urban areas in the provinces of Harare, Midlands, Bulawayo and Matabeleland.
In an interview with the Daily News Yesterday, Ema’s national spokeswoman, Amkela Sidange, said that in addition to dilapidated sewage infrastructure across the country, most local authorities and some sections of industry do not view environmental issues as reviews.
“The water pollution crisis is a national problem that requires urgent attention from local authorities, industries and other stakeholders. These parties must work together to avert this crisis which has seen the discharge of raw sewage into the majority of water bodies, including those that supply drinking water to major cities across the country.
“One of the challenges faced by Ema is the trivialization of environmental issues by local authorities and other stakeholders. There are no properly designed waste disposal facilities (landfills) for general and hazardous waste, which shows how these issues are not taken seriously,” Sidange said.
She accused local authorities of failing to put in place deterrent environmental laws against violators.
Sidange said then that Ema was the overseer of environmental law enforcement; to be effective, it needed to work hand in hand with other law enforcement agencies such as the police, traditional leaders and key stakeholders, including local authorities.
“There is also a need to review existing legislation to incorporate, among other issues, deterrent fines and penalties for those who breach existing regulations,” she said, adding that Ema was embarking on key programs of reduction of water pollution, such as licensing of effluents and solid waste. disposal by local authorities, industries and mines.
“This allows the agency to effectively enforce quality and waste management standards through regular compliance inspections and environmental audits”