Dr M’membe calls for struggle against destruction of environment, lives for profits
By Staff Reporter
Dr Fred M’membe, the Socialist Party 2021 presidential candidate has made a clarion call for all to join in the struggle against all those destroying the environment and endangering lives in their bid to maximise profits.
In his message to commemorate the World Environmental Day, which falls today, Dr M’membe said the recognition of the day by the United Nations offered an opportunity for worldwide awareness and action to protect the environment.
“On this day our reflections and thoughts take us to Kabwe kamukuba (Kabwe town), the world’s most toxic town, according to pollution experts, where mass lead poisoning has almost certainly damaged the brains and other organs of generations of children – and where children continue to be poisoned every day,” he stated.
Dr M’membe said almost a century of lead uncaring, reckless and inhuman capitalist mining and smelting had left a truly toxic legacy in the historic town of Kabwe where liberation decisions were made by Dr Kenneth Kaunda and his comrades in UNIP and later Oliver Tambo and the leadership of the African National Congress.
He said renowned scientists had warned about the real impact on Kabwe’s people was yet to be fully revealed with new dangers emerging as desperately poor people scavenge in the vast slag heap known as Black Mountain.
“Environmental health expert at New York University Prof. Jack Caravanos says, ‘Having been to probably 20 toxic hotspots throughout the world, and seeing mercury, chromium and many contaminated lead sites, [I can say] the scale in Kabwe is unprecedented. There are thousands of people affected here, not hundreds as in other places,” stated Dr M’membe.
He said the fumes from the smelter, which closed in 1994, had left the dusty soil in the surrounding area with extreme levels of lead.
“The metal, still used around the world in car batteries, is a potent neurotoxin and is particularly damaging to children. But it is youngsters who swallow the most, especially as infants when they start to play outside and frequently put their hands in their mouths,” Dr M’membe said.
“We make a clarion call to you all to join the struggle against all those destroying our environment and endangering lives in their bid to maximise profits”.