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World Bank to fund Kabwe lead pollution project

THE World Bank will fund another lead remediation project in Kabwe aimed at mitigating the impact of lead poisoning on human health and the environment.

World Bank and Nordic Development Bank started supporting Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings to address problems of lead pollution after the closure of Kabwe Mine from 1994 up to 2010.

The five-year programme, which will gobble US$60 million, will also cover Chingola and Mufulira.

Central Province permanent secretary Edwidge Mutale, who confirmed this in an interview yesterday, said the project is expected to commence next year.

The World Bank is coming and they would want to come and see how they can help to mitigate the lead poisoning here in Kabwe,

Ms Mutale said.
She said the project will be implemented through Kabwe Municipal Council, in collaboration with the ministries of Health, Community Development, Mother and Child Health, Mines, Energy and Water Development and Local Government and Housing.

The Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit are part of the project.
Ms Mutale said as long as there are deposits of lead underground, people are at risk of exposure to the toxic mineral which was mined in Kabwe from 1906 up to 1994.

Ms Mutale said discussions on the implementation of the project have reached an advanced stage, and she is hopeful that the Ministry of Health will acquire equipment that will be used to detect lead in blood.

She commended the World Bank for coming on board to support government efforts in addressing the lead contamination issue.

We would have loved this project to start last year because we are having children being born; children who are growing up in areas affected by lead poisoning and they are at risk,

Ms Mutale said.

She also said the commencement of mining in Kabwe by Enviro Processing Limited will largely depend on expert advice from the Zambia Environmental Management Agency.

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