THE committee appointed by government on pollution has shut down 31 companies for failing to put in place measures reducing the amount of pollutants they are releasing into water sources and nearly 600 others risk the same fate.
The closure followed the lapse of a deadline given by government to funeral parlours, service stations, fuel holding depots and food processing plants to refurbish or install new effluent pre-treatment plants at their sites, failing which they would be closed.
Among the companies closed are five gold mines and 17 gold ore processing mills, two garages in Harare, a food outlet in Kwekwe, an abattoir, two tanneries, an electro-plating industry, one service station and two tanneries all in Bulawayo.
Environmental Management Agency environment protection manager Robson Mavondo said his organisation had inspected 885 companies to check if they complied with the government order.
He disclosed the closures in a meeting with some members of the committee established in line with the Zim Asset to probe causes of water pollution and raw sewage disposal and to rectify the situation.
"We have so far served 656 companies with orders to put in place new systems or rehabilitate existing infrastructure. Only 257 companies complied with the regulations. So far, 31 companies which have been heavily polluting have been closed. We are in the process of checking if companies which were served with orders are complying," said Mavondo.
Mavondo said at least 465 companies had been inspected in Harare, but only 130 were compliant.
He said the industries closed did not employ large numbers of people as they relied on machines for most of their work.