By Helen Kadirire
A burst sewer pipe running across Marimba River has been discharging raw effluent into the water body which feeds into Lake Chivero.
The pipe has been discharging the toxic sewer for more than a week, according residents of nearby Gracelands.
Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said while the issue was being attended to, the city’s infrastructure needed a complete overhaul.
He said Harare has not meaningfully rehabilitated its infrastructure for 30 years.
“The city’s pipes do not need to be repaired but completely replaced as they have outrun their lifespan,” Manyenyeni said.
In a statement, Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) said the broken sewer pipe is discharging effluent direct into a water source that ends up contaminating Chivero, where greater Harare gets most of its water.
The Association said the sewer has been left to fester for a long time, with council failing to act on the ticking health time bomb.
“Residents in Kambuzuma and Gracelands are living at risk of contracting water-borne diseases if this pipe issue is not addressed. Human waste is now floating on top of the water, which residents eventually drink,” the residents organisation said.
Community Water Alliance chairperson Hildaberta Rwambiwa said while council complains that residents are not paying rates, all ratepayers should be targeted in the debt collection blitz.
“As policy makers, it is councillors’ responsibility to put in strict mechanisms that will ensure that ratepayers’ money is used for their actual benefit,” she said.
University of Zimbabwe environmental expert Christopher Magadza is on record saying Harare residents are drinking sewer water.
He said the pollution levels in Harare’s water were so high that ingesting it alone could cause serious illness.
“Water coming in from our flush system is actually what people are drinking right now, while very little is coming in from Manyame and Mukuvisi. There are so many harsh chemicals and pollutants in our raw water,” he said.
Magadza added that because of the recklessness of authorities in decimating wetlands, there is little to no natural water purification.
The professor said apart from sewer water being drunk, there is also a major problem of siltation of water sources due to stream bank cultivation. Daily News