Some 100km north of Zamibian capital Lusaka is Kabwe town and it is news frequently for bad reason. It is the world’s most toxic town. Brains and other organs of people living there have been almost damaged due to mass lead poisoning. Children have also continued to be poisoned every day.
Environmental health expert at New York University, Prof. Jack Caravanos, said lead mining and smelting have been in practice for about a century in the town and this has left a truly toxic legacy.
Lead is a potent neurotoxin and it does damage to children more. The metal is used in car batteries.
The first step of cleaning has begun. After 113 years when the first smelter opened, in 2015 an NGO funded by Germany’s Terrre des Hommes started with the cleanup of first homes. They have replaced the soils of over 120 homes with clean soil sourced from some other places.
Environment Africa’s director in Zambia, Namo Chuma, said they targeted the most polluted homes first and knows that their effort is just like a drop in the ocean.
Chuma added that the Zambia government now acknowledges the problem.
A report reveals the lead found in soils of the town is at least 10 times the US safety limit.
Director of public health at Kabwe Municipal Council, Paul Mukuka, said the government is concerned and a fund of 16m kwacha has been allocated in the segment for the cleaning of toxic pollution.
Even though Kabwe cannot be ever a lead-free town, but with efforts it can become a lead safe town.