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Zambia: Hope for Kabwe Lead Poisoning Victims

The Zambian government’s recent actions to address the toxic legacy of lead in Kabwe, in central Zambia, brings hope to affected communities, 15 Zambian and international nongovernmental organizations said today.

In March 2022, Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema established a new technical committee to tackle extreme levels of lead pollution from a former mine and smelter in Kabwe, and to protect human health and the environment. The committee met for the first time on June 3 at the Ministry of Green Economy and the Environment and will propose a plan for a sustainable solution to the contamination in Kabwe.

“The Zambian government’s willingness to seek a long-term, sustainable solution together with stakeholders is a crucial development for addressing the environmental disaster in Kabwe,” said Namo Chuma, director of the Kabwe-based Environment Africa. “As civil society, we stand ready to support this process.”

The Ministry of Green Economy will oversee the committee, with representatives from the Zambia Environment Management Agency, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the University of Zambia, and civil society organizations. The president has asked nongovernmental organizations to take an active role in the committee’s work, expressing appreciation for their efforts to address lead pollution.

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