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Garbage piles grow in Bulawayo

by Staff reporter
07 Jan 2021 at 08:06hrs | Views
BULAWAYO is sitting on a health time bomb as council continues to struggle to collect refuse from both residential areas and the city centre.

The failure by Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to collect refuse has resulted in heaps of garbage mounting in open spaces as residents and businesses resort to dumping solid waste in undesignated areas posing a health hazard, particularly in light of Covid-19.

Residents are dumping waste in open spaces and sanitary lanes thus creating breeding ground for disease-causing vectors and vermin that include rats, flies and mosquitoes.

They are also capable of causing viral diseases like trachoma, hepatitis A and gastroenteritis as well as parasitic diseases that include hookworm, threadworm and roundworm.

A news crew yesterday moved around the city centre and observed that downtown sanitary lanes are some of the worst affected due to the high concentration of people operating in the areas.

Sanitary lanes provide freeway to service vehicles such as delivery vehicles and garbage collection trucks. However, sadly, the environment has been turned to an eyesore as litter continues to pile up.

The news crew observed that street kids and the homeless are now taking advantage of sanitary lanes to defecate while residents are also using them as dumping sites.

Ms Sibongile Moyo, a resident at a city flat said they were now forced to dump litter in sanitary lanes as council was struggling to collect refuse.

"Council is not collecting refuse and it's almost a month now without seeing any refuse collection truck, which is why we end up dumping litter in open spaces and sanitary lanes. As residents we are aware that such actions pose a health hazard, but we have no option," she said.

Ms Ntombizodwa Ndlovu of Makokoba suburb said: "Illegal dumpsites are common here because council is not collecting refuse. Vendors, especially those operating at Renkini Bus Terminus contribute to littering the city." She urged council to mount dust bins in strategic areas to avoid public littering.

Another woman from Makokoba who refused to be named said the garbage which is along Luveve road opposite Makokoba suburb was an eyesore. She blamed BCC for failing to collect garbage in both residential areas and the city centre.

"As you can see the environment is turning into a breeding area for various bacteria causing diseases as the council fails to clear the garbage. The garbage has been there for the past two weeks. It's sad to live in a dirty environment like this," she said.

Another woman from Mzilikazi who only identified herself as Ms Ncube said garbage at the 'T' junction along Luveve road opposite Mzilikazi clinic resulted from irresponsible behaviour by local residents.

"Yes, the council might be failing to cope up with the situation, but some residents have a case to answer as they continue to dump waste everywhere. There is a need for residents to consider digging pits and burying garbage instead of just resorting to dumping it at undesignated areas," she said.

Environmental Management Agency (EMA)'s environmental education and publicity manager, Ms Amkela Sidange, said while waste management remains a responsibility for local authorities, there was need for residents to play their part by avoiding dumping litter in undesignated areas.

"Most of local authorities are failing to collect waste on time citing several challenges. Yes, challenges could be there but the bottom line is that the integrity of the environment and that of public health remains critical hence waste collection has to be done as per schedule," she said.

Ms Sidange said they are in the process of engaging local authorities on addressing environmental pollution. She said illegal dumping of litter is a punishable offence in terms of section 83 of Environmental Management Act and urged members of the public to utilise refuse bins provided by the local authority.

In its latest council minutes, BCC acknowledged that due to fuel challenges, it was failing to adhere to scheduled refuse collection timetables.

According to the minutes, refuse is collected fortnightly in the eastern areas and weekly in the western suburbs.

"Refuse was collected fortnightly in the eastern areas and weekly in the high-density areas. Some areas did not have their refuse collected on scheduled days due to fuel shortages," read the minutes.

"As a result, such areas went for more than two weeks without refuse being collected. Illegal dumping increased in such places."

BCC has 17 refuse compactors, six of which have broken down and two refuse box trucks, which are also both down.

Source - chroncile