Harare High Court judge, Justice Mary Zimba-Dube has prohibited Chitungwiza Municipality from using a dumpsite in the town, which was being used to dump dangerous waste that led to the fatalities of at least two minors. The judge found that the dumpsite was being operated illegally in a manner which posed a great danger to residents and violates the residents’ right to a safe environment.
The order follows an application filed by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, which was representing two Chitungwiza families who lost their children due to severe burns sustained at the dumpsite. Surface Wilmar (Pvt) Ltd, which was cited as the 2nd Respondent in the application, was permitted by the Municipality to dump hot spent earth, which is generated from activated earth, at the dumpsite.
Activated earth is used by Surface Wilmar in the process of refining crude oil to make edible oil. Nyashadzashe Govha, aged 12, passed away on 12 August 2020 after spending a year in hospital from burns sustained at the dumpsite after coming into contact with the hot spent earth. Another 12-year-old, Voster Wenhamo died at Chinhoyi General Hospital also due to burns sustained at the same dumpsite.
The judge also ordered the Municipality and Surface Wilmar to fence off the dumpsite with wrought iron fence and erect visible warning signs indicating areas which pose danger to the public. The local authority was further ordered not to permit the dumping of waste at the dumpsite until it has been certified and commissioned for use in writing by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).
Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum