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Brick-making firms, a health hazard – Dzivarasekwa teachers and pupils catches “chronic respiratory disease”

TEACHERS and students from Rainham Primary and Secondary schools in Dzivarasekwa farming area just outside Harare are said to be suffering from chronic respiratory symptoms and illnesses.

This, according to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, is a result of brick-moulding activities by Tiger Bricks (Pvt) Ltd and Bright Tech Bricks Manufacturing Companies some few metres from the learning institution.

The firms are operating near the schools at Plot 6 and 10 Rainham Farm.

Because of the situation, said the lawyers’ group, teachers at the schools were now being forced to wear protective glasses and to work with windows closed at all times.

This is to prevent dust from entering classrooms and offices.

“We have been informed by our client, Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) that Tiger Bricks (Pvt) Ltd and Bright Tech Bricks Manufacturing Companies are operating brick-moulding companies at Plot number 6 and 10 Rainham Farm which are causing severe dust and air pollution to Rainham Primary and Secondary schools.

“The air pollution has caused teachers and students to suffer from chronic respiratory symptoms and illnesses.

“Teachers are having to wear protective glasses and having windows closed all the time to try and mitigate the effects,” read part of the ZLHR statement.

The prominent rights defender has since written to the companies and the Director-General of the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) raising concerns on the matter.

On behalf of their client, ZLHR has further threatened to take legal action if the firms fail to come up with a lasting solution to the hazardous situation.

“We request that your company takes urgent measures to redress the dust and air pollution that is jeopardising students’ and teachers’ health and relocate its factory away from Rainham Primary and Secondary schools.

“If we are unable to reach amicable settlement in this matter, we are instructed to bring this matter before the courts,” said ZLHR.

The Harare City Town Clerk, EMA, Primary and Secondary Education minister and Tiger Bricks (Pvt) Ltd Chief Executive Officer (CEO) were copied in the letter.

ZLHR has also requested that the companies, in terms of the Access to Information and Protection of Private Act and Administrative Justice Act, provide copies of emissions licences as required by law.

 

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