Municipal officials concede the long-established practice of washing cars in the Zambezi is illegal, but that there is not enough staff to enforce the rule.

In Namibia, it creates the far eastern edge of this border in what is still called the Caprivi Strip, a narrow panhandle territory that provides the nation's only access to the river. It is a popular ecotourism destination. The Zambezi River is an important southern African waterway that runs from the Zambian interior to the Indian Ocean in Mozambique.

Although tourism in Zimbabwe often springs to mind when the Zambezi is said, it really crosses or brushes the boundary of Angola, Botswana and a handful of other states. Officials in Namibia say they are cracking down on a pollution problem in the country's Zambezi area, where it's individuals that are washing their cars in the river that are causing environmental damage.

Morgan Saisai, the region's environmental officer, said the laws need to be enforced. "When we speak of ecological possession it isn't only about washing automobiles but also people who washing clothes -- each water supply should be shielded, to not be polluted, so it is the obligation of everybody to be sure that such things are not undertaken," Saisai advised the New Era.

The nation's Environmental Management Act establishes penalties for pollution, but residents either don't know or care if they go to the Zambezi River with buckets and soap, and wash the vehicle dirt into the water.