Get Your Water Tested and Prevent the Spread of Cholera

Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, has been hit by a cholera and typhoid outbreak which has claimed 25 lives and affected more than 4000 people. Other provinces such as Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Masvingo and the Midlands have also been affected. The Environmental Management Agency would like to express its deepest condolences to the families that lost their loved ones due to this epidemic, may their dear souls rest in eternal peace.

The Environmental Management Agency is saddened by this unfortunate development, which to a large extent could have been avoided if sound environmental management systems had been adopted by stakeholders. Water borne diseases are highly associated with main drivers which include poor solid and liquid waste management. The water borne diseases arise from consuming water or food contaminated with E.coli. Human activities such as the discharge of raw sewer into water bodies and illegal dumping of waste accelerate this pandemic.

Can anything be done to ascertain whether water is clean or not?

It is important to know the quality of water you are drinking especially during this period when we are faced with numerous pollution sources. It doesn’t follow that clear water is clean water, hence the importance of testing your water from boreholes and wells to ascertain its quality.

Which Institutions Test Water in Zimbabwe
The Environmental Management Agency Laboratory (EMAL) is responsible for Water Quality Testing and Monitoring. It is a national institute, built for support and advice on all aspects of environmental quality, research, treatment studies, training and environmental quality information. The laboratory started operating under EMA management in 2007, was first accredited in 2012 and has continuously maintained its accreditation status to date.


Management at EMAL is committed to continuous improvement of the effectiveness of the laboratory management system that is in compliance to ISO/IEC 17025:2005, accreditation board requirements and is reviewed yearly, making the laboratory a center of excellence for analysis of a wide range of environmental samples with the overall objective of providing quality services to all customers. To achieve this, EMAL uses state of the art equipment, validated test methods, trained and competent staff and ensures that all personnel practice good professionalism by adhering to, familiarizing with and implementing the management system on a day to day basis.

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Pollution and Disease Outbreak

Poor waste managed is an issue of concern not only for its impacts on the environment but also on human health. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about a quarter of the diseases facing mankind today occur due to prolonged exposure to environmental pollution. Most of these environment-related diseases are however not easily detected and may be acquired during childhood and manifest later in adulthood.


Improper management of solid waste is one of the main causes of environmental pollution and degradation in many urban areas, not only in Zimbabwe but other parts of Africa as well, such as Maputo, Mozambique, Dare Salam Tanzania and Addis Ababa Ethiopia, among others. Many of these cities lack solid waste regulations and proper disposal facilities, including for hazardous waste, which may be infectious, toxic or radioactive. Poor waste management poses a great challenge to the well-being of city residents, particularly those living adjacent the dumpsites due to the potential of the waste to pollute water, food sources, land, air and vegetation.

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