CHRA statement on World Water Day

As the world commemorates World Water Day, the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) implores responsible authorities in Harare to take reasonable measures to reduce wastewater pollution of the environment as well as water bodies.

A broken sewer pipe discharges raw sewage into Marimba River which transports water to Harare’s major source of water, Lake Chivero. Pic by CHRA

World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

This year, World Water Day is being commemorated under the theme “Wastewater”.

The theme focuses on ways of reducing as well as reusing wastewater with statistics indicating that globally, 80 percent of wastewater from homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused.

On this international day, CHRA reiterates its call for reduction of pollution, elimination of dumping and the release of hazardous chemicals and materials into main water bodies.

CHRA restates that safe wastewater treatment and reuse are fundamental to protect public health.

As representatives of residents in Harare, CHRA is however concerned that Harare residents continue to be exposed to contaminated water thus putting them at risk of contracting diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery.

Statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that 1.8 billion people around the world use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces with about 842 000 deaths reported each year.

The situation in Harare is equally bad with the main water source for Harare, Lake Chivero being heavily polluted with raw sewer and the development stems from the council’s failure to put in place measures to reduce the effects of wastewater on the environment.

Sights of burst sewer pipes discharging raw sewage into water bodies have become quite common in Harare and this is genuine cause for alarm.

Water from Marimba River which transports water to Lake Chivero, Harare’s major water source is contaminated with raw sewage and faeces from a broken sewer pipe. Pic by CHRA

Our major concern is the apparent lack of will by authorities in Harare to ensure residents enjoy their constitutional right of access to safe, clean and portable water with over $9 million out of the $13 million the Harare City Council is collecting monthly being used to pay salaries of council staff who are all overpaid.

On World Water Day CHRA calls upon authorities in Harare to act and put in place measures that will ensure adequate wastewater management and prevent needless loss of lives.

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