Villagers threaten to sue ZEMA
By OLIVER SAMBOKO
VILLAGERS in Chief Sinadambwe’s chiefdom in Siavonga have threatened to drag ZEMA to court to compel the government Environmental agency to disclose its findings on the suspected uranium contamination of underground water in the area.
Due to the suspected contamination, the villagers have been complaining of experiencing strange diseases including infertility which they suspect is due to contamination of the ground water in the area.
Two months ago, the villagers challenged the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to make public its findings on the water contamination investigation it carried out in the area, but to date it has not responded to the demands.
Speaking on behalf of other villagers, Mr Derick Mbone said since ZEMA is keeping quiet and has refused to brief them on the findings, villagers have agreed to mobilise and seek the intervention of the court.
Mr Mbone called on interested organisations to come to their aid and help them pursue the matter in the courts of the law.
He said the villagers are living in fear and do not know the effects of the contamination on their health in the long run.
Mr Mbone said the previous government instructed ZEMA to investigate the issue after the people complained but wondered what was so hard for the t agency to disclose the findings.
He explained that every time the ground water levels go down, the people experience strange abdominal pains to which he also attributed the high level of infertility among the population.
Meanwhile, the different tests carried in the area by the local authority revealed that uranium levels in drinking water sources in the vicinity is alarming.
Some studies have also shown uranium concentrations in drinking water exceeded the safe limit for drinking water recommended by the World Health Organisation.