MUTARE- An environmental youth pressure group Manicaland Youth Assembly (MAYA) has appealed for an investigation into the alleged poisoning of Fern Valley dam by yet to be identified people.
The act described by MAYA as callous resulted in the death of aquatic life.
In a press statement, MAYA founding president Jusa Kudherezera said this unsettling development has also exposed communities downstream as the dam is fed by a local stream conjoined with Sakubva River, which feeds into Odzi River.
“MAYA is deeply worried by the recent news that some unidentified people suspected to be fishmongers did the most unthinkable act of poisoning the Fern Valley dam in a desperate bid to make a big catch.
“As MAYA, we are further perturbed by the obvious public health risks attached to the poisoning act which goes beyond fish but exposes many people to food poisoning after consuming the fish.
“Hundreds if not thousands of unsuspecting people including children, pregnant women and lactating mothers could be munching the fish now, happy that they have had a hearty meal with juicy fish after a long time due to the hard times only to realize that it was a fishy meal.
“The water and fish are now a poisoned chalice putting people and a whole range of biodiversity that rely on the Fern Valley dam/water in great danger.
“It must be noted that the water from the Fern Valley dam proceeds as the Dora River which joins Sakubva River 5km downstream, itself a tributary of the Odzi River. This illustrates how grave the situation is and what is at stake.
“It is in this respect that we urge the responsible authorities to urgently investigate the type of chemical/poison that was used to place the water and the possible effect it may have on humans and biodiversity in the immediate and intermediate future.
“This information is necessary for those who may have eaten the fish who may need immediate medical attention and the possible preventive measures that those people and animals living downstream in Dora may have to take to mitigate the effects of the poison,” read part of the statement
MAYA urged law enforcement agents to upscale their investigation regarding this criminal action while the local Authority (City of Mutare) was told to run and maintain the dam.
The organisation further urged the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) to up its game and be more visible to tame such heinous acts.
Meanwhile provincial EMA manager Kingston Chitotombe has dispatched a team of forensic investigations to evaluate the level of damage and the species affected by the poisoning.