Chiadzwa Villagers, ZCDC Clash Over Air Pollution

By Kenneth Matimaire

Marange, September 07, 2016 – ANGRY Chiadzwa villagers have threatened to lay rock barricades along a road used by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) trucks which they say lift clouds of dust when passing by, leaving them exposed to diseases.

Villagers say they are not pleased with the continuous air pollution caused by the miner in their residential areas.

The dump trucks are transporting diamond ore extracted from a concession formerly owned by Anjin Investment to another owned by Marange Resources for screening before taken to Diamond Mining Company (DMC) for final selection.

However, villagers and pupils attending a school located in the mining area fear contracting diseases related to the continuous inhaling of dust.

The affected communities include Mukwada, Tarindwa and Chiadzwa while Gandauta Secondary and Chiadzwa Primary schools situated right inside the diamond mining area.

Medical experts say there are more than 11 types of pneumoconiosis diseases caused by sniffing dust.

The disgruntled villagers have since threatened to take matters into their own hands if the company failed to resolve the matter amicably.

“ZCDC dumpers (delivery trucks) have become a cause of concern here,” said Augustine Majaya, a villager.

“They are polluting the air as they move diamond ore from (former) Anjin (concession) to Marange and then DMC for processing. This is affecting villagers and school kids, who are sniffing the dust every day.

“People were up in arms with the company and if they don’t heed our call, we will block the road with rocks. Its either they change the road or tar the current one because people cannot live in such an environment. Our home furniture; school desks, chairs and books are all covered in dust.”

Local headman Mkwada confirmed the development, indicating that ZCDC dumpers have since become an environmental hazard.

“Before diamond mining, we had a few buses, two or three buses passing once a day and it was not an issue. But now we have over 15 or so dump trucks passing after every few minutes and its dust everywhere.

“The former miners used to water the road occasionally before the trucks start their business, but we don’t know why ZCDC is not doing the same,” he said.

Dorcas Chiadzwa of Marange Development Trust (MDT) said the coming in of ZCDC has not translated to the intended positive change the government controlled company was purportedly aiming to bring.

“We thought ZCDC was going to prioritise the conditions we are living under but it appears they have continued to operate the same way the previous miners were doing. Nothing has changed,” said Chiadzwa.

Mutare West Legislator, and Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Chris Mushohwe is on record as saying Chiadzwa villagers trapped within the concession face a major risk of suffering from terminal illness over their prolonged exposure to dust.

About 4,300 families are still trapped under the diamond concessions.