THE World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has supported construction of a special pond that would save Mara River from contamination as a result of activities of artisanal miners living near the River in Tarime District.
The plant, designed to retain mercury at the pond was handed over to Kwinya Mining Cooperative Society, witnessed by a group of 23 artisanal miners living at Muriba village in a ceremony that was presided over by Tarime District Council Executive Director (DED), Mr Apoo Castro Tindwa on Friday.
Thanking WWF for the good gesture, Mr Tindwa said that it was the right move to supplement in efforts being made by the government to protect Mara River for the present and coming generations. "I would like to thank WWF for assisting Tarime District Council to preserve environment and Mara River basin in particular.
I also thank Murito villagers for providing good cooperation during the implementation of the project. You have shown a good example for other villages," added Mr Tindwa, shortly after launching the pond.
However, he ordered all artisanal miners residing along the river bank to refrain from washing their gold-ores with mercury in areas which pollute the river, and instead relocate to safe ponds which also do not put their health at risk.
He equally promised to empower them with small loans in formed groups once they take heed of his directive to enable them improve their livelihoods. On his part, the WWF Fresh Water Programme Coordinator, Mr Christian Chonya said construction of the gold refining pond in the village was aimed at making the river to be free from mercury contaminations in the area.
"Our major goal is to protect Mara River by improving the quantity and quality of water in the river under the WWF's fresh water programme," added Mr Chonya.
For several years now, WWF has been working with the government, local communities and other key players along Mara River Basin to implement a number of projects aimed at improving the quality and quantity of water to the residents as well as preserving all forms of the Serengeti ecosystem.
The occasion was also attended by other WWF officials from Musoma office led by the Project Officer of the Mara Fresh Water Programme, Mr Kanuni Kanuni.