BULAWAYO firm Pottery Industry (Pvt) Ltd has escaped with a $200 fine for discharging harmful chemicals into the city’s rivers.
BY SILAS NKALA
In convicting the firm last week, Bulawayo magistrate Charity Maphosa said from the evidence brought to court, it had been proven that the chemicals had polluted Umguza and Matsheumhlope rivers.
The company, which was represented by its top executive Tamuka Zinyengere and Bulawayo lawyer Leslie Sibanda, had denied the charge.
Prosecutor Kudakwashe Jaravaza told the court that sometime in April last year, Environmental Management Agency (EMA) officer, Kwanele Ndiweni, carried out inspections along Matsheumhlope River, which passes through Bulawayo’s industrial area and discovered that a storm drain that passes next to Pottery Industry, was contaminated by industrial effluent.
Further investigations revealed that Pottery Industry was illegally discharging effluent into the storm drain that feeds into Matsheumhlope River, which is a tributary of Umguza River, polluting it for a distance of about six kilometres.
Samples were collected and results from the EMA laboratory proved that of the 18 parameters analysed, 11 were beyond the permissible limits.
From results obtained, Pottery Industry was identified as carrying environmental pollutants found in Matsheumhlope River and was contributing 1% of the pollution in the stream.
During trial, it also emerged that Bulawayo City Council and other nine local companies contributed 99% of the pollution in the rivers and were yet to face litigation over the crimes.
The city council was said to be responsible for 90% of raw effluent discharged into the rivers, while nine other companies were responsible for 9% of the pollutants.