BCC pays fine

BULAWAYO - The Bulawayo City Council been fined US$1500 by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) for pollution. The local authority paid the US$1 000 fine plus a US$500 late payment penalty last week. EMA's provincial quality inspector for Bulawayo, Jasiel Mapako, said even though BCC had paid, the fine was not the issue.

“Yes they have paid, but the issue is fixing the problem that warranted the issuing of the ticket in the first place. We are back where we started,” he said.

Mapako said the police had already opened a docket for the case, but they were now waiting for the response from Harare.

“BCC gave us proof of the payment. A letter explaining that late payment had not been wilful on their part accompanied it. They asked for leniency. We sent their request to head office and we are now waiting for their response,” he said.

The agency had carried out an inspection on some of the sites that the local authority had promised to repair by 4 December last year.

“There is progress on the small issues, but the major ones which need tenders are still a problem. Raw sewage is still gushing from pipes in Saucetown and the status of all the sewage treatment plants is worrying,” said Mapako.

EMA urged the city council to speed repairs of burst sewers in residential areas before the onset of the rains.

“If it rains while they are still like this, we are likely to experience cholera outbreaks again,” he said.

Two weeks ago, EMA sought the help of the police to prosecute the local authority for failing to pay a fine of US$1 000, within the mandatory seven days.

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