Friday, September 17, 2021
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‘Polluted Mucheke River water totally unusable’

                                                  Taruvinga Chivasa

Moses Ziyambi

MASVINGO – The heavily-polluted water in Mucheke is no longer
suitable for whatever use, and it would require several years of consistent
clean-up exercises to restore the river to its original pristine state, the
Mutirikwi Sub-Catchment Council has said.
Speaking to TellZim News in an
interview, Mutirikwi Sub-Catchment Council manager Taruvinga Chivasa said it
was important that all stakeholders worked together to protect rivers.
“Mucheke joins Shakashe River
which is one of the most important tributaries feeding into Lake Mutirikwi; the
sole source of drinking water for Masvingo city. It is unfortunate, however,
that despite Mucheke River being clean upstream, it becomes choked with all
forms of pollutants as it passes through the city,” said Chivasa.
He said the sub-catchment council
would find it hard to issue out licences to anybody who requests permission to
extract water from the part of that part of the river going downstream.
“It will be difficult, if not
impossible to allow anybody to extract water from the river in its current
soiled state. We need a plan with all stakeholders to stop the pollution and
restore sanity in our river,” said Chivasa.
He said the invasive water
hyacinth which blankets many pools in the river was thriving on human faecal
matter which is rich is nitrates and phosphates.
“The weed is quite problematic in
that you cannot simply get rid of it without a good plan. You may want to
remove it mechanically but you would only be treating the symptoms, not the
actual illness. The weed has thousands of seeds on the river bed and the weed
would sprout once again as soon as it’s fed the nutrients it wants. So
pollution has to completely cease first before we can talk about removing the
weed,” said Chivasa.
He said during the rainy season,
the hyacinth is washed down stream until it reaches the lake where it cannot
survive due to conditions that are not favourable.
Besides sewage from burst pipes,
the river is also polluted by litter thrown recklessly by pedestrians and
motorists alike, while toxic oils and waste water from the industrial area also
contribute substantially to the pollution.

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