CHAMBO NG’UNI, Kabwe
THE challenge of lead pollution in Kabwe has been exaggerated as information publicised by some international organisations suggests that Central
Province’s capital is not habitable.
Kabwe town clerk Ronald Daka said the district is still painted black due to lead pollution despite mitigation and remedial projects Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines – Investment Holding (ZCCM –IH) has implemented.
“The lead issue to a very large extent is being exaggerated. Yes there is a problem of lead but we are talking about certain hotspots like in Kasanda, Chowa and Makululu,” Mr Daka said.
Mr Daka said on Thursday during a stakeholders’ consultative meeting at Civic Centre that the level of pollution in Kabwe cannot be compared to Chernobyl in Ukraine, Dzershinsk in Russia or Fukushima in Japan.
Mr Daka said people should not be afraid to live and invest in Kabwe because measures to address effects of lead on human health and the environment are being addressed.
Mr Daka said out of the US$65.6 million the World Bank has given Zambia for a five-year environment remediation project targeted at critically polluted mining areas of Kitwe, Chingola and Kabwe, the latter has been allocated US$16 million.
He said foreign media houses and some non-governmental organisations which go to Kabwe to cover and do research on lead pollution do not engage Kabwe Municipal Council (KMC).
“People should understand that we are dealing with a town that has come through mining and it’s sad that we have received bad publicity,” Mr Daka said.
“The problem is there but it’s not the way it’s being portrayed, Kabwe is generally a safe place.”
Meanwhile, Kabwe mayor Prince Chileshe is optimistic that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources will soon lift the ban on land administration agency of KMC.
Mr Chileshe said KMC has made strides in addressing concerns that have led to the ministry suspending the land administration agency last month.
Mr Chileshe clarified that suspension of the land agency does not affect KMC’s mandate to plan for development.