Fish die in the ZPC Hwange streams.

By Rutendo Mapfumo


Thousands of fish have died in ZPC streams in what is suspected to be fish poisoning.
Twitter\X and other social media online platforms were awash with allegations that the death of the
fish was at the Deka River due to suspected coal projects. However, Indonsakusa fact checked that
the death of fish was not at Deka River but from ZPC streams instead.
According to the research, the images circulating on social media were taken at the ZPC streams and
the death of the fish was only on a small portion of the ZPC stream.
The sources from the Environmental Management Agency also dismissed the link of water pollution
from coal production as the main cause of the death of fish as they pointed that they could be other
causes such as fish poaching.
Environmentalists in Hwange who visited the ZPC streams confirmed the death of fish but revealed
that it could be caused by fish poachers who wanted to harvest a large number of fish at one go.
“Yes, fish died but that was not freshwater or river water. Fish died from already known waste-
protected Ash dams, this could be a fish poacher who wanted a mass harvest of fish,” said Daniel
Sithole, a Hwange based Environmentalist.
Sithole further revealed that the ZPC dams if not properly managed can pose a threat to aquatic life.
“Selenium can be concentrated in coal ash, the residue left from burning coal. It can cause
disfigurements, growth problems, and even death in fish and other animals. Coal ash contains
contaminants like mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. Without proper management, these
contaminants can pollute waterways, groundwater, drinking water, and the air. People should not
buy fish from unknown sources,” said Sithole.
Zimbabwe is a developing nation and there is a need to harness coal to improve the energy sector.
However, companies must take precautions to mitigate rivers and freshwater contamination, for
example the Deka River.
Hwange companies must adhere to EMA Act 20:27 through their environmental Impact assessment
action plans.
Meanwhile, Hwange environmentalists have encouraged mining players who utilise dust roads in
ferrying coal to find mechanisms for dust suppression from the source up to delivery points.
“Hwange is booming with industry but human beings and the environment have to be protected for
sustainable development to be realised,” said Sithole.

Comments are closed.