Investigate water pollution

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 10:50:58 +0000

THE detection of a high concentration of molasses from unknown sources causing pollution in the Kafue river water which is supplied to millions of Lusaka residents by the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC), requires urgent and thorough investigation.

It has become ceremonial and a norm for the LWSC to only faithfully generate and deliver monthly utility water bills to its customers in Lusaka Province despite knowing so well that it has failed to fulfil its mandate – produce and supply quality drinking water to its customers.

As if the poor record of shoddy service delivery is not bad enough, the utility company now admits supplying polluted water to its clients under the guise that there is high concentration of molasses from ‘‘unknown sources’’ in the Kafue river which is giving a brown colour even after the treatment process.

It is quite annoying that the LWSC can assure its customers that the water is safe for consumption despite the colour when it is basic knowledge that quality drinking water should be colourless.

Why shouldn’t the company make efforts to ensure the colour of water is normal and safe? How dangerous is it?

In its own statement to the media, the LWSC admits that “the company’s water surveillance unit has established that there was a high concentration of molasses that was being discharged into the Kafue River, hence polluting the water”.

How then can ‘‘polluted’’ water be safe for consumption? Who is discharging this effluence in the capital city’s source of drinking water?

The LWSC is not being honest on this matter. Actually, it is illogical that water polluted by high concentration of impurities from unknown sources resulting in change of its colour can be said to be safe for human consumption.

The pollution is said to occur even after the water has been treated to make it safe to drink or use domestically. How possible can such water be safe?

What is certain is that the repercussions of drinking the polluted water may not be felt or known immediately but could be highly contagious in the future. And LWSC will be held responsible for negligently supplying unsafe, suspect water to millions of its clients.

For the LWSC to engage the Water Resource Management Authority (WARMA) and the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to help investigate the source of pollution on Kafue River goes to show the severity of the matter. Downplaying the issue is not providing the requisite solution.

Commending its team of employees which undertakes water quality surveillance on a daily basis to ensure that the water supplied meets the quality standard required only serves as a weak defence mechanism.

Instead, the LWSC should move expeditiously to ensure that the cause of this pollution is dealt with.

And should it be found that some individuals or company is responsible for polluting the water, punitive measures must be instituted against them for putting the lives of innocent customers at risk.

We recall that a few years ago a mining company on the Copperbelt polluted a water stream and people suffered from health complications. Thus, it is vital that the investigations are thorough to bring the culprits to book.

On the other hand, we challenge the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) to conduct an independent and thorough investigation using its latest state of the art mobile laboratories to ascertain the safety and quality assurance of the brown coloured water the LWSC is producing and supplying to their millions of
clients in the capital city of Zambia.


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