From MUGINI JACOB in Tarime, 28th August 2011 @ 12:05, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 1297
MINING activities still threaten the survival of River Tigithe which is located close to the North Mara Gold Mine in Tarime District, Mara Region.
"The situation is getting worse because small scale miners are now washing their gold sand inside the river and some parts of the river are contaminated with mercury," Matongo Ward Executive Officer (WEO) Masa Muniko said.
More than 1,500 people are engaged in small-scale mining activities in the villages located near the mine operated by African Barrick Gold (ABG), Tanzania's largest gold miner.
In 2009 the Canadian giant miner came into spotlight after discharging seepage into River Tigithe, provoking bitter protests from surrounding communities.
The River flows into Mara River before discharging its water into Lake Victoria.
"Massive production of bricks and farming along the shore of the river is another problem and one of the small rivers that flow into River Tigithe has completely been destroyed at Kerende village," the WEO said.
Mr Masa made the revelation in Tarime over the weekend during a crucial meeting that brought about 40 key stakeholders from the villages along the river and neighbouring districts of Serengeti, Rorya and Musoma Rural.
The meeting was organised by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Tanzania programme through the Musoma based Mara River Basin Management Project and it was also attended by a representative from the North Mara Gold Mine.
A special agreement was signed between River Tigithe Water Users Association and Lake Victoria Basin, in a bid to put in place an effective system on water resources management during the meeting.
"We are setting up water resources management system from the grass root level in collaboration with Lake Victoria Basin and WWF is the entry point.
Tigithe pollution has touched stakeholders beyond the Tanzanian borders, it is an international matter," Mara River Basin Management Project Manager Mr William Kassanga said shortly after the meeting.
Thousands of villagers from 15 villages of Ingwe Division, Tarime District depend on River Tigithe as their major source of water for human and livestock consumption.
The WWF Musoma project has been striving to bring together stakeholders to put in place strategies on proper management of water resources in the districts with some villages located close to Mara River for several years now.
The project is due to be phased out late next year, according to Mr Kassanga.
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