Thousands of people now depend on Mukuvisi River’s raw sewage water for both domestic and industrial use, putting their health at risk. Harare Municipality is facing difficulties to provide clean and safe water to the city’s residents. This is leading to some citizens in the country looking for an alternative but unsafe options in order to have this essential daily requirement.
One of the regular users of this visibly greenish water, Sylvester Chinhema, 46, explained why people flock to the river to use or fetch this contaminated water. “This season there was very little rain which led the water table to drop, automatically drying up our wells at home, which are our traditional sources of domestic water in Harare. “So we have come here for laundry like we do after every three weeks,” he said.
Sylvester added that the users are aware of the health risks posed by the dirty water but have no better options.
“Yes many are firstly boiling it before they use it for bathing, but still many illnesses are coming from this Mukuvisi water and you can not trace these families individually. Imagine there is industrial waste being dumped in this river; as you can see here some are cleaning their industrial vehicles there.
Even from where these rivers start, it is all industrial dumping, meaning all people feeding off this river are endangered, but you know what, there is nothing we can do now, except to just make sure that we look smart at the end.
“It is cheaper to wash them here using Mukuvisi water, it is about $US (20 to 50), but at our Hub Freight facility, this would cost about $US180 to clean just one tank.” For this reason and more, Mukuvisi is now a popular dumping site of industrial waste, day and night. Some are allegedly blaming the non-collection of garbage by Harare City council for decades hence the residents resorted to dumping theirs on the banks of Mukuvisi River.