Water Polluting firms miss deadline, risk closure

Several companies fingered as drinking water polluters have failed to comply with a Government directive to construct waste pre-treatment plants by June 30 and now face closure.
While the full list of the firms was not readily available, the Environmental Management Agency has begun compiling a report for submission to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Water Pollution.

The report will also detail reasons why companies failed to comply. The Cabinet committee is, in turn, expected to take remedial action, which could include closing the firms.

Industry captains, however, last week appealed to the authorities to read the situation against the obtaining economic constraints. It is understood some companies require US$1 million to set up the plants.

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo, who chairs the committee, said Government would not condone pollution. “The full report will be presented to the committee and Government will take action against the companies which did not comply; we cannot tolerate pollution any longer,” he said.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Mr Charles Msipa said “numerous” businesses complied, and those that had failed had submitted plans to EMA provincial officers to show commitment to the anti-pollution drive.

“Considering the economic situation in our country, most firms are in financial distress, hence the failure to meet the deadline. Compliance involves investments in significant resources and the companies that did not meet the deadline have submitted their plans to EMA,” he said.

In May, Cabinet committee directed companies to set up waste pre-treatment plants to reduce effluent discharged into major water sources.

Harare City Council is reported to be discharging 3 885 mega litres of raw sewage into strategic sources daily.

Government is partly addressing the matter through construction of new Harare sewerage works worth US$250 million and a US$13,261 million sewer upgrade in Bulawayo.

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