Anti-lead project cheers Kabwe residents

OVER 70 houses in Kabwe’s Chowa township have had their yards levelled with black soil in the on-going lead remediation pilot project aimed at reducing the levels of lead contamination in the area.

Too much exposure to lead can damage various systems of the body including the nervous and reproductive systems and the kidneys and it can also cause high blood pressure and anaemia.

Pure Earth, a company contracted by Government to carry out a lead remediation pilot project is expected to conclude its operations this week before rolling the project to various parts of the town which have more lead concentrates.

Project manager Evaristo Mwenya told the Daily Nation yesterday that over 80 percent of the job had already been done and that the project was likely to be concluded this weekend.

He said the project was earmarked to cater for over 250 households in Kabwe

“Pure Earth has completed the remediation of 79 highly contaminated homes in their community under its Chowa lead remediation pilot project. The decontamination of the soil lead level involves the levelling of the yards with black soil, which is a simple lead encapsulation method.

“This is a quick, low-cost, and proven highly effective method aimed at reducing lead contamination among the people in this area. This clean-up, which has already started to make a difference in Chowa, will be expanded,” Mr. Mwenya said.

And Kabwe District Commissioner Patrick Chishala said he was impressed by the work done so far

Mr. Chishala told the Daily Nation yesterday that the company was doing a commendable job to de-intoxicate Chowa area.

“I am impressed with what has been done by the company so far and this comes as a relief not only to the people of Chowa, but the entire Kabwe population. We believe that when this project is completed, more lives will be safeguarded.

“So far, about 90 per cent of the job is done as most of the houses have their yards covered with black soil to try and mitigate the lead intoxicating levels which have been high and have affected a lot of people,” Mr. Chishala said.

Lead blood concentrations in Kabwe have been found at levels 60 percent higher than the amount considered fatal, a result of contamination from decades of unsafe lead mining in the region.

Kabwe has found itself on the top 10 of a new list of the world’s worst polluted places due to very high lead concentrations left over from previous mining operations with the average blood levels of lead among children in some townships being five to ten times the level considered dangerous.