Monday, July 02, 2007

Mean Spirited Mining in Africa (3)

Mining leaves toxic legacy in Zambian town
by PlanetArk Zambia
22nd June 2007

KABWE, Zambia - Irene Solo ate soil from tree bark and anthills when she was pregnant in the belief among some Zambians that it makes babies strong.

It's a tradition that could prove fatal for her young son and thousands of other children in Kabwe, where a once-thriving mining industry has left deadly concentrations of lead in soil and water in what activists say is a sign of Africa's environmental degradation.

"Doctors have told me that Lasford was poisoned with lead while he was in my womb because I used to eat a lot of soil," said Solo. "I have been told that lead poisoning kills or leaves children with disabilities, but I hope and pray that my son will live to become a medical doctor."

Mining is Zambia's economic lifeblood, but Kabwe's mineral riches dried up in 1994, when heavy financial losses forced the state-run Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) company to shut down operations.
Once one of Africa's largest and richest mining towns, Kabwe was left with a legacy of toxic waste.

Blacksmith Institute, a New York-based environmental group which works with the United Nations and World Bank, ranks Kabwe among the world's top 10 most polluted cities.

Environmental groups have accused Zambia's government of ignoring environmental hazards in Kabwe. State authorities say they only became aware of the problem in 2000.

"There were a few things the ZCCM could not do at the time the mine was closed which are being done now," Zambia's mining minister, Kalombo Mwansa, told Reuters.

Companies who have expressed an interest in reviving the mining industry in Kabwe will not win contracts unless they commit to waste management in the future, he added.

The government has resettled families and provided them with clean drinking water. Parks have been created in townships to keep children from playing in soil. And a public education programme has been launched.

But it may be too late to save Kabwe residents from decades of lead contamination, which can stunt growth and cause brain damage and infertility.

Up to 5,000 people have been affected by poisoning and the lives of about 60,000 children and adults are at risk, government officials say. Levels of lead poisoning above 120 micrograms per decilitre can kill.
In Kabwe, 117.6 micrograms per decilitre have been found in both adults and children, said Mark Radin, research assistant at Blacksmith, which is financed through donations from other environmental groups and individuals.

"ZCCM conducted studies in Chowa Township and Kasanda Township in 1996-1997. They found a wide range of blood levels in the 7,736 residents they tested in the Chowa Township, the range was 27.7-117.6," he told Reuters.

An unspecified number of children were found with an alarming level of 300 micrograms per decilitre, according to reports cited on Blacksmith's Web site.

Gauging the extent of the damage may take years.

"We are yet to discover what lead poisoning has caused in our children and mothers because the problem was only identified in 2004," said Nancy Zyongwe, a doctor with a state-run company created to clean up the environment in mining towns.

"It is a major surprise that even children with higher lead content look very fit. We are investigating all these issues as we treat the children but good (conclusive) results may take up to seven years."

Zambia's economic growth has been accelerating thanks to an increase in copper production. The southern African country has also won praise from Western governments for prudent economic policies.

But poverty remains widespread and critics say Zambia should be reaping bigger benefits from its vast mining resources.

Zambia has turned to the World Bank and international funds to clean up Kabwe, a central town of thatched and mud brick houses which lacks basic infrastructure and modern schools.

So far US$50 million in loans and grants have been secured but US$40 million more is needed, Zambian officials say.

Life hasn't always been so hard in Kabwe: it was once the symbol of the independence struggle against the British. Liberation hero Kenneth Kaunda used to announce his landmark economic policies in the former industrial hub.

These days, Kabwe's people have little time for nostalgia. They are busy scratching out a living, despite the dangers.

Rhoda Mwape was diagnosed with high lead content in her blood in 2005. She still scavenges for scraps of metal to support her children. She may never see them grow up.

"I know the dangers of lead to my health but I have no choice," said the mother of eight.
Story by Shapi Shacinda


At 5:56 PM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 10.20
tiffany jewelry, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, nike outlet, nike air max, oakley sunglasses, michael kors, kate spade, gucci handbags, louis vuitton outlet, tory burch outlet, cheap jordans, uggs on sale, louis vuitton outlet, ralph lauren polo, burberry factory outlet, louboutin shoes, chanel handbags, uggs outlet, nike air max, nike free, michael kors handbags, michael kors outlet online, uggs on sale, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet store, burberry outlet, longchamp bags, ray ban sunglasses, christian louboutin, longchamp outlet, prada outlet, prada handbags, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin, uggs outlet, tiffany jewelry, louis vuitton outlet online, cheap oakley sunglasses, replica watches, louis vuitton handbags, louboutin uk, ralph lauren outlet, uggs on sale, michael kors outlet online

At 5:59 PM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

coach outlet, converse, vanessa bruno pas cher, kate spade outlet, true religion outlet, true religion outlet, michael kors, polo lacoste pas cher, mulberry uk, timberland pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, nike tn pas cher, louboutin pas cher, true religion jeans, nike air max uk, longchamp pas cher, north face pas cher, coach outlet store online, nike free, coach purses, vans pas cher, lunette ray ban pas cher, nike air max pas cher, michael kors uk, lunette oakley pas cher, hogan sito ufficiale, nike air force, abercrombie and fitch UK, hollister uk, nike roshe uk, lululemon outlet, michael kors, polo ralph lauren uk, longchamp soldes, burberry pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, nike free pas cher, nike air max, jordan pas cher, ray ban uk, nike roshe run pas cher, michael kors outlet online, new balance, sac guess pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, true religion outlet, hermes pas cher, coach outlet, north face uk

At 6:03 PM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

polo ralph lauren, hollister, nfl jerseys, lululemon outlet, chi flat iron, vans scarpe, north face outlet, nike roshe run, north face outlet, giuseppe zanotti, converse shoes outlet, mont blanc, abercrombie and fitch, longchamp uk, soccer shoes, timberland boots, asics running shoes, hollister clothing, mcm handbags, hermes handbags, reebok outlet, soccer jerseys, mac cosmetics, new balance shoes, instyler ionic styler, nike air max, iphone cases, celine handbags, insanity workout, ray ban, ghd hair, herve leger, vans outlet, nike air max, softball bats, louboutin, converse, salvatore ferragamo, nike trainers uk, abercrombie, valentino shoes, nike air huarache, bottega veneta, gucci, oakley, p90x workout, wedding dresses, babyliss pro, beats by dre, jimmy choo outlet, replica watches, ray ban sunglasses

At 6:07 PM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

hollister, montre pas cher, juicy couture outlet, coach outlet, sac louis vuitton, louis vuitton uk, canada goose pas cher, canada goose jackets, wedding dresses uk, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, moncler pas cher, michael kors outlet, moncler, moncler outlet, moncler, lancel, ugg uk, ugg pas cher, pandora uk, supra shoes, replica watches, moncler, links of london uk, moncler uk, moncler, barbour, pandora jewelry, canada goose, sac louis vuitton, pandora charms, michael kors outlet online, pandora jewelry, swarovski jewelry, thomas sabo uk, barbour jackets uk, karen millen uk, toms shoes, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, canada goose outlet, canada goose jackets, juicy couture outlet, canada goose uk, doke & gabbana, canada goose, moncler jackets, swarovski uk, canada goose outlet, michael kors handbags, bottes ugg pas cher

At 7:37 PM, Blogger mmjiaxin said...

celine outlet
oakley sunglasses
air jordan 11
michael kors outlet
ugg outlet
longchamp handbags outlet
ralph lauren outlet
jordan shoes 2015
toms outlet store
lacoste shirts
coach outlet store
oakley sunglasses wholesale
ralph lauren outlet
beats by dre
tory burch outlet
lebron shoes
cheap nfl jersey
true religion outlet
canada goose coats
nike trainers

At 6:50 PM, Blogger 艾丰 said...

nike soccer shoes
coach outlet,coach outlet online,coach outlet store
true religion jeans,cheap true religion jeans,true religion jeans wholesale,true religion outlet,true religion sale,true religion outlet online
oakley sunglasses wholesale
michael kors handbags sale
ugg boots
oakley sunglasses cheap
ray ban sunglasses outlet,ray ban usa,ray ban sunglasses,ray ban,rayban,ray bans,rayban sunglasses,cheap ray ban,ray ban outlet,ray-ban,raybans,ray ban wayfarer,ray-ban sunglasses
barbour clothing
nba jerseys wholesale
oakland raiders
hollister shirts
michael kors handbags clearance
michael kors handbags wholesale
michael kors uk
canada goose outlet
true religion jeans
ysl outlet online
chanel outlet store online
pittsburgh steelers
san antonio spurs
louis vuitton bags on sale
longchamp outlet online
cheap ray ban sunglasses
canada goose sale
calvin klein,calvin klein outlet online,calvin klein wholesale,calvin klein shoes,calvin klein underwear,calvin klein coats,calvin klein handbags
michael kors outlet sale
tory burch handbags
prada handbags
puma shoes
michael kors handbags wholesale

At 2:34 AM, Blogger happy 123 said...

louboutin shoes
hogan outlet
longchamp le pliage
lebron 13
retro jordans
nike air max
adidas nmd
falcons jersey
adidas outlet
adidas gazelle

At 7:01 PM, Blogger raybanoutlet001 said...

ugg boots
ugg outlet
polo ralph lauren
coach outlet
michael kors outlet
nike shoes
ugg boots
giants jersey
coach outlet store
reebok shoes


Post a Comment

<< Home