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Inadequate toilets leave Plumtree stinking

by Staff reporter
26 Jan 2024 at 13:50hrs | Views
PLUMTREE residents have bemoaned inadequate ablution and sanitation facilities in the town centre especially at the vendors trading points, amid fears of possible outbreaks of waterborne diseases.

Zimbabwe is currently battling a cholera outbreak that started in February last year.Approximately 20 000 cases have already been confirmed with 330 deaths having been recorded across the country.

In an interview with Southern Eye yesterday, Plumtree Combined Residents and Development Association chairperson Richard Khumalo said the residents had been lobbying Plumtree Town Council for the construction of public toilets since 2016.

He said residents were worried that informal traders and travellers using the ePhaneni Rank are resorting to the bush when they want to relieve themselves. "We have noticed again that people are still using the surrounding bushes to relieve themselves which is a health hazard.

"The problem is a result of the unavailability of public toilets at our major bus terminus namely ePhaneni Rank. As a result travellers and vendors use the bush as the toilets. "This will eventually cause the outbreak of diseases such as cholera and other waterborne diseases. Used toilet tissues are scattered in the surrounding areas."

Khumalo said residents notified the Plumtree local authority on the issue and further engaged  the local board on March 21, 2016, but no action being taken on the issue. "At the same time the former Plumtree district medical officer whom we knew as Sibanda also approached the authorities on the same issue but they never took action.

"The matter is covered under the Public Health Act which stipulates the duties of the local authority in maintaining its district in a clean and sanitary condition at all times," he said.In a letter addressed to council in 2016, the residents called on the local authority to construct ablution facilities at Dingumuzi, ePhaneni and Bulawayo-bound kombis' terminuses.

Meanwhile, Bulilima West legislator Dingumuzi Phuti, who is also Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services deputy minister, also acknowledged the growth of Plumtree.

He said the rapid development called for an upgrade of facilities and services including public toilets which are in high demand due to increased activity in the town centre. Phuti emphasised that providing adequate and clean toilets was important for maintaining a healthy environment for the growing population.

"Plumtree Town Council has been growing from a town board at some point to a full town. This calls for upgrading of some facilities and services such as health points — litter bins, rapid garbage collection and most importantly toilets," he said.

"EPhaneni, Old Dingumuzi, the border and Dombodema terminals are of late very busy with travellers and vendors and the need for toilets cannot be underrated."

Phuti said efforts to avert a cholera outbreak in the border town needed to be made urgently.

Source - southern eye