On Saturday April 1st, I took part in a Run for Mudi River event that took place in Blantyre city. There were two options, run or walk, I already knew my option was walking because it has been too long since I have jogged. Mudi River is one of the rivers found in Blantyre city and this particular one runs through the heart of Blantyre city, its source is somewhere in Mpingwe and collectively begins at Mudi dam close to the offices of Blantyre Water Board. If memory serves me correctly, Blantyre residents get some of their water supply from this dam. The dam is where the river officially starts and it makes its way through the city. I am not sure of where it actually ends but I assume it must join with other rivers or streams and make their way to the Shire River.

Crossing a sewer line serving as a bridge

The Run for Mudi River was organized by Art Malawi and other partners to raise awareness of the pollution in the river. For the runners, they took a different route that took them through different parts of the city. As for us walkers, we walked the river line to appreciate the river and the waste that is thrown into it. I really appreciated this walk and got to see parts of the city that I had never seen before. Some of the things of note during the walk, included the submerged car that was swept into the river by the heavy rains and flooding that occurred during Cyclone Freddy. The amount of waste from upstream that accumulates down stream during the rainy season when the river swells beyond its normal volume was also quite interesting. I noticed a similar thing with the Lingadzi River during a cleanup exercise last year. The drainage pipes from factories that deposit directly into the river were also another thing that showed the vulnerability of the river to waste pollution. Some people have also built close to the the river bank which makes their buildings vulnerable especially during cyclones and other serious weather events. Our walk ended almost close to the Mudi dam and from there we marched along the highway to raise awareness about the river back to our starting point.

The gallery above shows some of the waste that is currently in the river. Art Malawi collects this waste and recycles it to make school bags for school children. Some also have gardens along the river which are vulnerable when flooding occurs and can lead to food insecurity.

I really enjoyed this activity and was glad to help raise awareness of such a worthy cause. Environmental pollution is such as big issue in Malawi and it is concerning that as country we are still not taking it seriously as we should. Waste management in all districts is a big problem and with disease outbreaks such as Cholera, it is important for us to do something. As a country, we need to do more to protect our environment and it starts with us as individuals.

Tree damaged and uprooted during Cyclone Freddy


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