By Correspodent

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) says the death of aquatic life in Masvingo’s two major rivers Shagashe and Mucheke in the past two weeks was due to low levels of oxygen caused by high masses of dissolved salt.

The authority said the salts emanated from rampant industrial, mining and agricultural discharge of effluent into the water bodies.

In a statement the agency said it noted the discharge of raw and untreated sewage into Mucheke and Shagashe rivers by Masvingo City Council and conducted tests at 10 different points along the rivers.

“From the tests carried by the Agency on 10 specifications from different points along the river, it was duly noted that of importance, level of free oxygen present was 5.2% which was too low to support aquatic life and affect water quality which is red class.

“The river contained high masses of dissolved salts and inorganic matter.

“Total Dissolved Solids amount was high ranging from 467-787 which reflected that there were more cations and anions whilst permissible value is 500ppm, for fresh water the value might be very low.

“The most likely possible causes of increase in total dissolved solids are industrial, agricultural and mining activities,” the agency said.

EMA has since ordered Masvingo City Council to immediately attend to the blocked and vandalized manholes so as to ensure stoppage of the discharge into the environment as well as resuming efficient operation of the main treatment plant.

EMA has urged the residents to desist from vandalizing sewer reticulation infrastructure as the vandalism can lead to environmental pollution as was noted at the city’s sewer treatment plant in  Rujeko.

“Let us all uphold our rights to leave in a clean, safe and healthy environment by reporting residents who vandalize such infrastructure to the relevant authorities,” the authority said.

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