Researchers in Kinshasa fear groundwater pollution that could have negative effects for several years
as reported from Kinshasa, Pascal Mulegwa
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the authorities are facing a humanitarian crisis in the center of the country following a Angolan mining complex has been dumped, since July, toxic substances have been polluting the waters of the Kasai and Tshikapa rivers, which originate in Angola.
The pollution has reached some places in the southwest with, as a great risk, that the water in the Congo River shared by Congo-Kinshasa and Congo-Brazzaville will also be polluted. Researchers in Kinshasa fear groundwater pollution that could have negative effects for several years.
► Also read: DRC: “We fear that pollutants have long-term effects on flora and fauna”
The consequences for the local population are already effective: colored water, dead fish and hippos … And the cessation of diamond mining operations. This pollution of the waters of the Kasai and Tshikapa rivers is a blow to the inhabitants of an already poor region.
Measures taken despite a urge not to consume contaminated water, cases of diarrhea and deaths have been recorded after consuming fish.
Accused of not reacting quickly enough, the authorities finally sent, on Thursday, Eve Bazaiba, Deputy Prime Minister for the Environment, citing more than 4,000 cases of diarrhea in 13 of the 18 health zones affected in Kasai. Other consequences, according to the minister, women have rashes and sexually transmitted diseases.
Faced with this unparalleled pollution, President Félix Tshisekedi has also called on aid workers and the international community. Eve Bazaiba, she assures that the government intends to strengthen the water supply from the distribution company.
The construction of water wells and maintenance of natural springs are also planned. On the fisheries side, Kinshasa intends to promote the development of fish farming activities.
Where it poses a problem is the restoration of ecosystems because an entire life is in danger. […] We do not know if it was by mistake or if it was known, but so far we have no feedback. [retour, NDLR] not just to regret what happened or to tell us to take our precautions. It is a private company on Angolan land. […]
Interview with Eve Bazaïba, Minister of the Environment