Mutare City River Pollution, Zimbabwe

Description
Most of the surbubs in Mutare are located along Sakubva River which cuts across the city and passes through some villages before draining into Odzi River; then it drains into Save River which passes through Marange. According to Mukokeri (1999) cited by Mapira (2011), Mutare City pollutes Sakubva River and its tributaries in three ways, 'namely by sewage, industrial and institutional waste', adding that zinc, lead, arsenic and mecury, and wastes from a pulp & paper mill being discharged from industries are polluting river water, thereby endangering human and aquatic life. It is virtually impossible to find any life in Sakubva River. The river is also polluted by detergents used by households and flushed into the sewage system which sometimes find its way into Sakubva river. There is also Municipal Sewage works at Gimboki which also dumbs sludge into Sakubva River. The effects of Sakubva River pollution are heavily felt in Dora communal lands where about 30 000 people rely on it for domestic and irrigation purposes. This community also has few alternatives to Sakubva river due to poverty and lack of awareness on the dangers of using the polluted river water. Livestock in Dora communal lands depend on Sakubva River as well.

Basic Data
NameMutare City River Pollution, Zimbabwe
CountryZimbabwe
ProvinceManicaland
SiteMutare City
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Waste Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Water access rights and entitlements
Chemical industries
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Manufacturing activities
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific CommoditiesEucalyptus
Recycled Metals
E-waste
Chemical products
Cellulose
Manufactured Products
Domestic municipal waste
Industrial waste
Project Details and Actors
Project Area (in hectares)40000
Level of Investment (in USD)-0
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population100,000 - 150,000
Start Date1996
Company Names or State EnterprisesMutare City Council from Zimbabwe
Mutare Board and Paper Mills from Zimbabwe
The Watlle Company from Zimbabwe
Dairy Board Zimbabwe from Zimbabwe
Border Timbers from Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe National Army from Zimbabwe
Relevant government actorsEnvironmental Management Agency, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Ministry of Local Government, Zimbabwe National Water Authority, Mutare City Council, Mutare Rural District Council
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersEnvironment Africa http://www.environmentafrica.org/, Mutare Residents and Rate Payers Association, Center for Natural Resource Governance, National Association of Non Governmental organizations
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Infectious diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Development of AlternativesRaising Awareness among residents and the polluting companies

Demonstrations in suburbs affected by pollution

Demonstrations at the Council Offices and at the premises of companies that are leading in pollution

Engaging local academic institutions for research and publications on pollution
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The pollution of Sakubva River and its tributaries is continuing unabated. The fines that have been charged by the Environmental Management Agency are very paltry, making it cheaper to pollute than to prevent pollution. The City Council, which must strive to keep the city, including its rivers clean, is a major culprit in pollution, hence environmental justice has not been served.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Zimbabwe National Water Authority act

Urban Councils Act

Rural Districts Councils Act

References

PROMOTING WATER QUALITY LAWS ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION IN ZIMBABWE’S URBAN AREAS

Pollution in the City.pdf
[click to view]

MTISIS, SHAMISO
[click to view]

RIVER POLLUTION IN THE CITY OF MUTARE (ZIMBABWE) AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa (Vol 13, No.6, 2011 (attached)

Links

Government drills boreholes in Mutare
[click to view]

Media Links

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ContributorFarai Maguwu
Last update08/04/2014
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