Parliament rejects report on Shire River pollution


The Parliamentary Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resources has rejected a report from the Department of Environmental Affairs about sewage waste and other hazardous materials being dumped into the Shire River by lodges operating along the river.

Chairperson of the committee, Welani Chilenga, has said the report does not tally with what the committee has seen on the ground.

Chilenga Wednesday said the committee was in Liwonde where it inspected most of the places in question and has noted that there is, indeed, discharge of contaminated waste into the river as opposed to what the report says.


“We have been on the ground and we have seen that there is discharge [of hazardous waste]. What the report is saying and what is on the ground are two different things; very parallel. We have established that they [lodges] are discharging contaminated water into the Shire River,” he said.

Chilenga further said Parliament told the Department of Environmental Affairs to have the report signed by the Ministry of Tourism, the District Council, Department of Water and National Intelligence Bureau. He said all three institutions have refused to sign.

He said Southern Region Water Board also did a test in the Shire River and told the committee that the water was fit for human consumption. However, Chilenga said, the committee will have the water tested by the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS).


“Southern Region Water Board may say that the water is okay because it aims at making business; so we are going to wait and hear from MBS as we have ordered them to do tests. The department of Environment [al Affairs] has said it has also established that the lodges are operating in a restricted area near the river,” he said.

Public Relations Officer for Environment and Climate Change Management in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Sangwani Phiri, acknowledged rejection, but said he needed more time to comment on the matter.

The committee recently uncovered illegal dumping of sewage waste and other materials not fit for human consumption into the Shire River by lodges operating along the river.

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