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residents drink filtered urine
Wongai Zhangazha, The Independent (Zimbabwe)
December 07, 2012
of Zimbabwe researcher Professor Chris Magadza has partly attributed
the contamination of Harare's water to the destruction of
wetlands and government's failure to take protective action,
while warning residents of the capital are drinking filtered urine.
Magadza made the remarks during a field trip to several Harare wetlands
under threat, which include Cleveland Dam, wetlands in Msasa Industrial
area, Gunhill, Borrowdale and Monavale.
Government has ignorantly dismissed preservation of wetlands as
irrelevant saying the nation cannot be put to a standstill saving
a "few frogs and a few trees".
Authorities controversially approved the building of a hotel and
shopping mall by a Chinese company on a wetland in Monavale opposite
the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
Construction is almost complete and it is already advertising shops
to lease at the complex.
Magadza said without wetlands Harare's water supply was doomed,
as almost all open green spaces in the city are vleis of wetlands
that form the "fragile headquarters of the Manyame, Marimba,
Gwebi catchment basin upon which the city is built".
He said Manyame River now supplied 50 % of clean water while the
remainder was "our returned urine".
Chivero receives so much sewage and there is algae called Microcystis
which can cause liver cancer," said Magadza. "For example,
in South Africa this algae has killed a lot of cattle.
Water in Cleveland Dam is among the cleanest water in the country
because of wetlands around the dam which clean any pollution,"
Magadza claimed that fertilizer maker, Zimphos, produced the most
pollution that finds its way into Cleveland Dam.
"The amount of substance found in the water in the 1960s to
1980s was around 25 microzymas, but today there is about 60-80 microzymas
due to increased pollution. The acid waste from Zimphos ends up
in Lake Chivero. The wetlands are an asset to water purification
as they filter off fertilisers," Magadza said.
According to statistics by environmental experts, the average water
table in Harare has declined from 15m to 30m in the past decade
because of wetland loss and illegal sinking of boreholes.
Environmental expert Dr Willie Nduku said Harare was badly located
in terms of water supply as the city was on a catchment basin yet
government was allowing companies and individuals to build in areas
that paused threats to the city's water sources.
Residents Trust chairperson Precious Shumba said the local authority
was not committed to improving water purification and supply although
pre-budget consultations indicated that 58% of the US$64 million
collected by the Harare City Council up to the end of July this
year was from water bills.
"From our analysis of the revenues being collected by the
city, the bulk of the money is coming from the water services, confirming
that water is the council's cash-cow, which has reportedly
financed most council operations, including payment of salaries
and administration costs," said Shumba.
"But there has not been any meaningful investment of the revenues
collected from water services into infrastructure development and
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