WASTE discharge from industries around Kihonda industrial area in Morogoro region is reported to pose serious health risks to hundreds of residents who draw water from Morogoro and Ngerengere rivers for domestic purposes.
Three industries; Morogoro Canvas, the 21st Century Textile and Morogoro Tanneries, all located at Kihonda industrial area in Morogoro region are said to produce a vast volume of industrial discharge, that goes to effluent reservoirs which are not properly managed by the municipal authorities.Residents of six villages -Mkono wa Mara, Sangasanga, Mavulu, Mngazi, Gezaulole and Gwata Mjembe in Mkambarani ward, Mikese Division in Morogoro rural district, are complaining of skin rashes, eye irritation, vomiting and diarrhoea after using the contaminated water.
“We draw water from Morogoro and Ngerengere rivers which used to be very clean some years back. But today water has changed colour and appears blue and stinking.”These women in this village bear children with deformities. We are told that some industries down town release the effluent to Ngerengere river,” local government chairman for Mkono wa Mara village, Mr Ramadhani Mchime says.
Ms Rebecca Sobute (36), a trained nurse and mother of four looks stressed. She suspects that persistent ingestion of toxic materials from polluted rivers throughout her pregnancy period caused abnormality to her last born daughter who is three years old.”The rest of my children are normal. This one has suffered brain damage. The dirty water taken here has some bearing to our safety.
It also affects people’s reproduction system. Cases of diarrhoea are rampant and dizziness is a common phenomenon,” Rebecca says as she looked at a pan as she boiled water for the children to take bath.Saidi Abdallah (58), Village Social Services Committee chairperson said people’s lives are at risk as water has become a ‘silent killer’ to villagers residing along the contaminated rivers.
“We have constant skin irritation. Women here have resorted to digging shallow wells along the stream in search for clean water. It is not clean either because the effluent had soaked the soil. The entire stream is saturated with the runoff. Water from such sources is equally polluted. We have registered our complaints to district authorities but nobody has taken action,” Mr Abdallah lamented.
Ali Gumbo (39) is a secondary school teacher at one of the ward secondary schools in Ngerengere. He called for collective voice against delayed solution, expressing fears that more people would be affected by using the contaminated water.”In fact all rivers empty water into the ocean, Ngerengere is without exception. Coming to Bagamoyo district, the river joins Ruvu River which is the major source of water for Coast and Dar es Salaam regions respectively. They cannot avoid taking the dissolved chemicals,” Gumbo clarified.
Elisaria Ndenshao, a nutritionist from the Tanzania Food and Drug Authority (TFDA), said river pollution has long term health effects. He said industries that cause pollution to the vast volume of water bodies includes textile, food, iron, pulp and paper, paint and agricultural activities.
“Untreated effluents laden with high concentration of Zinc, Mercury, Cadmium, Iron, Manganese and other chemicals enter the food chain and affect human health when food or water is consumed.
This contaminant interferes with the enzyme activity and the formation of red blood cells that may cause harmful effect in human body, which include miscarriages and deformities on new born babies,” Mr Ndensahao explained.Contacted for comment on the plight of residents in specified area in Morogoro, the Director of Environmental Compliance and Enforcement in the National Environment Management Council (NEMC), Dr Robert Mtakamulenga said officials from the council have visited the area (Kihonda) to see the seriousness of the problem.
He said before privatization, the management of the three industries namely Canvas, Textile and Tanneries known to produce volumes of effluent at the area worked with Morogoro municipal authorities to manage the sewage. The situation is different after privatization.
“Inspections by NEMC revealed that the industries complied with the safety sewage management parameters as all were furnished with in-door wastewater stabilization point.
The runoff is discharged into larger waste water treatment reservoirs which should have been managed by the municipal authorities. These remained unattended and overflowed to rivers,” he explained.According to him, NEMC convened a joint meeting last year attended by officials from the Morogoro Water and Sewerage Authority (MORUWASA), Wami-Ruvu River Valley, Municipal authorities and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Water.
The objective of the meeting was to address industrial discharge which is not treated and impact on environmental protection.
It was deliberated that the wastewater reservoirs should be repaired and maintained. It was further agreed that coordination of the activities should be undertaken by the office of the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Water. However, nothing has been done so far.
Source Article from http://allafrica.com/stories/201209230214.html
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