By MAIMBO MWEEMBA
The Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development has announced that the Zambia Mining and Environmental Remediation and Improvement Project (ZMERIP) has commenced its Phase I Lead Clean-Up in Kabwe.
The project targets townships impacted by Lead pollution starting with Kasanda due to its proximity to the old mine dump.
This follows the approval of the Environmental Social Management Plan by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency and the World Bank.
Mines and Minerals Development, Permanent Secretary, Barnaby Mulenga said that phase one (1) of the household environmental remediation which is aimed at reducing the Lead footprint in the environment.
“ Identified lead hotspot areas of Chowa, Kasanda, Makululu, Makandanyama and Mutwewansofu townships of Kabwe district, the scope of the project works in this phase covers 20 households in Kasanda Township through combined remediation options which include application of uncontaminated black soil, concrete paving and greening of households,” he said.
Mr Mulenga added that they believe that the remediation works footprint in these houses demonstrates Government’s commitment to enhancing safety and reducing environmental health impacts associated with Lead pollution.
“Government through ZMERIP will spend approximately Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Kwacha K750, 000.00 to remediate the households in phase one (1), a move that has been welcomed by stakeholders,” he said.
Mr Mulenga said that Phase one (1) will also provide information for use in the subsequent phases of remediation which will cater for townships that were mostly impacted by Lead pollution in Kabwe.
He said once the Consultant MIRECO engaged to develop the engineering design (voluntary insitu remediation option) for household remediation concludes the assignment.
“There is need for environmental regulatory agencies to ensure operating mines keep up with their progressive rehabilitation requirements to avoid the recurrence of such environmental legacies,” Mr Mulenga said.
“The engineering designs have been finalised and preparation of the associated Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA) for the rehabilitation and landscaping of the Kabwe Main Canal were completed and that the procurement process of engaging a contractor for works had commenced. The works are anticipated to begin during the fourth quarter of 2021,” he said.