Rights in Action – Weekly Update 25 June 2021

No Evidence that Quality of Water in Most Bulawayo Boreholes is Good

The Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) analysis of Bulawayo 2019 and 2020 borehole water quality testing results supplied by the Bulawayo City Council proves that there is no evidence to support the Council claim that “quality of water in most Bulawayo boreholes was good”.

On 21 May 2021 MIHR requested Bulawayo City Council to supply supporting evidence that backs their claims on quality of water in most Bulawayo boreholes. The local authority responded on 21 June 2021 with results for 2019 and 2020 borehole testing. The MIHR analysis reveals that:

  • Contrary to provisions of the Zimbabwe Water Act which stipulates that water sources should be monitored at least twice a year for quality, the local authority was testing boreholes once a year.
  • In 2019 BCC tested 176 out of 350 boreholes and 33 of them were contaminated (coliform positive) with 4 testing fecal coliform positive.
  • In 2020 BCC tested 25 out of 350 boreholes and blames the limited testing to the Covid19 pandemic.

In its analysis report, MIHR recommends that borehole water testing during emergency water shortage times (like in the year 2020 in Bulawayo) should be seriously prioritized. The organization also recommends amending the Council by law SI389 of 1980 and the Zimbabwe Water Policy. The organization further recommends government fiscal support to local authorities for borehole water testing.

Hyde Park Residents Question Quarry Mining Activities

Residents of Bulawayo Ward 17’s Hyde Park in Methodist Village are complaining of noise pollution from a quarry mining venture happening next to their village. The village committee met with MIHR staff members today (Friday 25 June 2021) and raised a number of concerns about the quarry mining activity. Some of the residents’ concerns include:

  • They are not aware of the name of the company and if it has an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate since as the adjacent community they were never consulted.
  • There is a lot of noise pollution as the company’s stone crushers operate up to after 6pm.
  • As the peasant farmers in the area they are not aware of the amount of land that the company was given and its implications to their peasant cattle ranching livelihoods.

MIHR advised the committee to engage the Environmental Management Agency in Bulawayo to seek answers for their questions and thereafter formulate an environmental management charter with the company.

Source: Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights

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