By August this year, the polluted Mudi River could have been restored to its original state, according to the Rotary Club of Blantyre, the champions of the clean-up exercise for the river.
Rotarian Sunduzwayo Jere made the remarks at a public debate held in Malawi’s commercial city, Blantyre, on Friday to raise awareness and highlight the challenges associated with the polluted river.
The club embarked on the clean-up exercise 15 months ago after noticing how dirty Mudi River had become and the stench that comes out of the river as a result of waste that is dumped into it.
“We have now started the clean-up exercise. Already K2.1 million has been spent in the first phase of the project which runs from Blantyre Sports Club to the Clock Tower,” said Jere, adding that the Blantyre waste water treatment plant has also begun to be rehabilitated.
He said there is need for all the residents of the city to join hands in the clean-up exercise.
One the patrons during the debate, Modecai Msisha, noted that there is need to come up with a complete study of how the problem came to being and how Blantyre as a city can get to the root of the problem.
One of the issues cited as causes of the pollution was that Blantyre City Council (BCC) does not collect refuse often enough and, that as a result, residents dump the waste anyhow and sometimes it ends up in the river.
But BCC assistant engineer Simeon Chiwaya observed that the council is owed a lot of money in city rates which, if collected, would be used to address some of the challenges faced in the city at the moment.
“We have plans to rehabilitate the sewer lines and many other things, but it takes a lot of money. For instance, it will cost the council K9 million to rehabilitate the one in question, and if we were to rehabilitate the whole system, it would probably go up to K100 million. Yet, there are so many other things that we need to look into as a council,” he said.
The idea to clean-up the river followed reports by both the Wildlife Society of Malawi and the environmental health department of the Malawi Polytechnic that the river is polluted with lead, zinc, chromium and other chemicals hazardous to health.
According to the club’s president, Doreen Chanje, the exercise will, among other things, entail rectifying the sources of pollution which largely are broken sewer lines running along the river as well as sensitising companies that dump waste into the river.