Massive Fish Death Sparks Outcry

Hundreds of fish are dying in Shakashe and Mucheke rivers amid revelations Masvingo City Council discharged raw sewer into the rivers, Business Times can report.

The two rivers are tributaries to Lake Mutirikwi- the sole supplier of water for the City of Masvingo.

The development has sparked outcry. Residents in Masvingo have called for an investigation.

They said fish mongers have taken advantage of the situation to sell fish picked from the two rivers for a song to unsuspecting residents.

Residents are now fearing for their health as they are no longer sure if the water they get from the local authority is safe for human consumption.

“We are no longer sure if the water we get from the council is safe given the fact that fish are dying from the sewage discharged.

“Council needs to clarify the issue,” said a resident who declined to be named.
Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance spokesperson, Godfrey Mtimba called for intensive investigations.

“Marine life is being taken out by heavily contaminated and polluted water in our rivers that feeds Lake Mutirikwi.We wonder if we are still drinking safe water,” Mtimba said.

Another resident of Rujeko A suburb, Thomas Chabata called on residents to desist from buying fish from street vendors.

“I am calling on residents not to buy fish from street vendors as some people are picking dead fish from Mucheke and Shakashe rivers and selling them to unsuspecting residents.If you go around the suburb the price of fish has drastically gone down,”Chabata said.

Efforts to get a comment from the Environmental Management Agency were futile. Masvingo Town Clerk, Engineer Edward Mukaratirwa said in a statement that water samples had been sent to a Harare laboratory to ascertain the reason behind the dying of fish while admitting the discharge of raw sewage.

“Council acknowledges the recent discharge of raw sewer into Mucheke and Shakashe Rivers due to blocked sewer main lines in Mucheke A and Rujeko B as a result of vandalism,”read the statement.

“Big boulders were deposited in manholes thereby choking the sewer lines.
Another source of the discharge was Rujeko pump station where we experienced pump breakdown. After the incidents, we collected and sent samples to a reputable laboratory in Harare for tests.We are therefore waiting for results in order to ascertain whether the alleged deaths of fish was caused by raw sewer discharge or other chemicals that might have been deposited in the water bodies.”

However director of EnviroPress, Moses Ziyambi said council must do thorough investigations as the discharge of the sewer has been going on for a long time.

“We doubt it’s ordinary raw sewage that killed the fish. As far as we know, Masvingo has, one way or the other, been releasing untreated sewage into Shakashe and Mucheke rivers everyday over the past years. They may deny it but it’s true. There is therefore good reason to believe that there was something unusual that happened. It needs to be investigated by independent and credible laboratories,”Ziyambi said. _*BusinessTimes*_


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