By KETRA KALUNGA
MORE youths in Kabwe have continued invading the closed Kabwe Zinc and Lead Mine dumpsites despite several warnings from health authorities of lead poisoning.
The number of youths accessing the closed dumpsites is increasing everyday.
Government recently disclosed that over 1, 000 children mostly below the age of six in the district were victims of Lead poisoning.
Anglo American South Africa Limited (AASA) has been sued for the lead poisoning of over 100, 000 individuals in the district.
A check at the dumpsite found youths patronising the defunct Zinc and Lead mine indiscriminately in order to earn a living despite exposing themselves to lead poisoning.
Youths, mostly from Makululu township who chose to remain anonymous said the mine which was highly contaminated with lead poisoning remains their only source of income in the industry thirst town.
They said they would rather be exposed to Lead poisoning than die of hunger or resort to criminal activities because there are limited job opportu-nities in the district.
“Sister I’m able to feed my family through the minerals I dig from these dumpsites and later sell to buyers, so the issue of lead poisoning is a simple thing to me because I would rather die of it than dying from hunger, I have a family to feed and there are no jobs in Kabwe,” he said.
Medical experts say lead is very poisonous and that exposure to even low levels of it could cause damage over time especially in children and young adults.
Medical Quality Health Care Zambia (MQHZ) director-general, Dr Quince Mwabu said the greatest risk of Lead poisoning was to brain devel-opment, where irreversible damage could occur.
“The higher level of lead dust can damage the kidney and nervous system in both children and adults, very high lead levels may cause seizures, unconsciousness, and possible death,” he said.
Dr. Mwabu urged all those who have been exposed to lead dust and any form of lead to be tested for lead level in their body system and get treat-ed for lead poisoning.
By KETRA KALUNGA