Green Party President Peter Sinkamba has asked government to address a looming disaster in Kitwe’s Chamboli Township where young people are said to be risking their lives in a caved sinkhole scavenging for copper ores.
Sinkamba said it is the responsibility of government to act now before lives are lost in the copper slag dump.
He has implored Government to take urgent measures through the Zambia Mining and Environment Remediation and Improvement Project (ZMERIP), which is funded by the World Bank, to avert a national disaster.
Sinkamba said the sinkhole in Chamboli where youths are scavenging copper ores is a historical liability which has been a source of safety concern from the 1980s.
“When ZCCM used to run the mines on the Copperbelt, caving in that area was a problem and I have got correspondence to this effect. Some houses were demolished and tenants were moved to safe areas. At the time, the houses were cracking and showing signs of potential sinking. That was the main concern. So before the advent of scavenging copper ores, the initial safety concern from the 1980s up to 2016 was the cracking of houses due to subsidence. Now, with ongoing scavenging activities, the danger is imminent,” Sinkamba said.
He said in 2005, he raised the issue of subsidence in Chamboli concerning houses in J Section where more than 300 houses were affected.
“So, I know for a fact that funds are there to address the looming disaster in Chamboli if only government can be proactive and caring for their lives of those youths. There is more than US$50 million to address both environmental and social challenges in that area. Put simply, the whole problem in Chamboli rests squarely on government’s shoulders, and government should take urgent steps now,” Sinkamba added.