Mozambique and Zimbabwe discuss river pollution

via Mozambique and Zimbabwe discuss river pollution – The Zimbabwean 17 April 2015

Delegations from the Mozambican and Zimbabwean authorities met this week in the central city of Chimoio to discuss the pollution of international rivers caused by illegal artisanal gold mining, according to a report in Thursday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.

The Revue and Pungoe rivers are being heavily polluted by mercury and other toxic substances used by the gold miners. There are two major dams on the Revue, at Chicamba and Mavuzi, and pollution by heavy metals raises questions about their future.

The rivers are also vital to drinking water supplies for Chimoio, Beira and other major urban centres in Manica and Sofala provinces. Mercury pollution is a serious threat to human health. The pollution can also have damaging effects on irrigation, agriculture and fish farming.

The purpose of the meeting was essentially to warn the Zimbabwean authorities, since most of the illegal gold miners are Zimbabwean, that the Manica provincial government is determined to eliminate illegal mining.

Provincial governor Alberto Mondlane has made it clear that the levels of river pollution are intolerable, and the government must take measures against the illegal Zimbabwean miners. He wants to deport summarily all Zimbabweans involved in this activity.

“If there are only a few Mozambicans involved in this mining, why don’t we deport the foreigners who make up most of those carrying out this activity which is so damaging to the environment and to our economy?”, he asked.

“We should not suffer while we are capable of combating this problem”, he said. “There should be no tolerance for those who deliberately devastate our natural resources and the environment, and compete for our wealth”.

Last month, the police cracked down on illegal mining in the Chitunga area near the Zimbabwean border. 80 people were arrested, 76 of whom turned out to be Zimbabweans.