MUTARE– City management has warned of a ticking health bomb as rampant artisanal gold mining activities are heavily polluting the municipality’s water source in Mutasa District.
Finance director Blessing Chafesuka recently revealed that the quality of water drawn from Odzani Dam is now under threat from illegal gold mining activities, which has lured hundreds of youths upstream of the city’s main water supply.
Speaking during a public consultation for the 2020 supplementary budget, Chafesuka urged residents to approach central government to intervene and bring sanity as the health of people is now under threat.
He said to compound this health hazard, the local municipality was now running a loss as it was now stretching its paltry resources, at an extra unbudgeted cost, to purify this contaminated water.
“There is the issue of Odzani Dam. There is a signal which is dangerous and we need to help each other and as Mutare residents you have power to speak to the government to solve the issue of illegal gold mining in the Mutasa district where the dam is.
“We are worried because of illegal gold miners who are mining near Odzani Dam, they are polluting the dam with the chemicals they use to mine gold.
“As Mutare City Council, we are now accruing a loss. Council is using a lot of money to buy chemicals to clean the water and contamination of water is detrimental to your health,” said Chafesuka.
Residents also expressed their concerns over this development triggered by the gold rush in Mutasa district which could cost the city its title of having the most pristine water in the country.
United Mutare Residents Ratepayers Trust (UMRRT) programmes director, Edson Dube said ratepayers will petition government to bring an end to alluvial gold mining as they are equally worried about this development.
“As residents of Mutare, we are equally concerned with the contamination of Odzani Dam, we don’t want to die. We are going to write a petition to government so that they drive away these illegal miners,” said Dube.