CENTRAL Province permanent secretary Chanda Kabwe has commended the World Bank for funding the lead remediation project in Kabwe aimed at mitigating the impact of lead poisoning on human health and the environment.
The World Bank recently approved the US$65.6 million five-year environment remediation project targeted at critically polluted mining areas of Kitwe and Chingola on the Copperbelt and to mitigate lead pollution in Kabwe, Central Province.
Lead exposure in Kabwe is critical because the area has recorded high lead levels in the soil and high blood lead levels among children as a result of the lead mining activities in the past.
Mr Kabwe said over 4,000 children under the age of 15 with high blood lead levels will be treated for lead contamination by 2022.
“We need to have healthy children who are able to contribute to national development. As Government, we are going to make sure this project is implemented,” Mr Kabwe said.
He said it is good that the project has taken on board mining and environment remediation to address lead pollution in the environment.
Mr Kabwe said the project will help to improve the lives of the people, especially those adversely affected by lead contamination.
“This is a big project to rid the environment of lead pollution and help the people affected by lead to get the support that they need. We want to make sure that this project is fulfilled,” he said.
According to the World Bank, Kabwe mine, which operated from 1902 to 1994, left a legacy of lead poisoning and mental retardation in children living in affected areas.