Harare city council dumps refuse in the open

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Residents say the dumping has been going on for weeks now and on Monday The Herald crew saw City of Harare staff offloading more refuse on a smouldering garbage mound.

Council — which ironically threatens residents who dump refuse at undesignated points with fines and prosecution — has already been fined before by the EMA for its poor waste management.

On Monday council spokesperson Mr Leslie Gwindi confirmed that the local authority was illegally dumping refuse.

"Council some years back dumped some waste there as a landfill. We have now said that the site should not be used. As things stand, it is an illegal dumpsite. There should not be continuous dumping there," he said.

He did not say what action, if any, was being taken to rectify this flagrant violation of council rules and EMA regulations.

Efforts to get a comment from EMA were fruitless at the time of writing.

However, the agency in January last year fined the council for failing to collect refuse and dumping waste at undesignated sites.

Residents who spoke to The Herald accused council authorities of being insensitive to their health concerns, adding that numerous pleas for them to stop the dumping had fallen on deaf ears.

They said someone had tried to burn the garbage and the smoke from the mounds of trash was now choking them and putting them at risk of contracting respiratory diseases.

Mrs Lizzy Chikuyo of Prospect said the creation of the dump had attracted scavengers who now also threatened residents’ security. "We are afraid this dumpsite is bringing thieves to our neighbourhood.

"Council should provide a lasting solution to this sad state of affairs. If they are developing illegal dumpsites themselves, what example are they setting for residents?" she said. Mr Moses Goremusandu of Sunningdale complained that children were being exposed to health hazards brought about by the dumpsite.

"They are unaware that the smoke from the dumpsite affects their health. Some sift through the garbage in search of things they can play with and as parents we are now on constant guard so that our children do not go there," he said.

He said council had never explained to them why they were dumping garbage, which includes potentially poisonous industrial waste, in a residential area.

Barefoot children could be seen playing on the mounds of refuse, oblivious to the health hazard.

"At first we thought they (council) were going to remove the garbage, but they are continuing to dump more here. I wonder why they want to wait for disaster to strike first. As you can see, with that smoke residents are susceptible to suffer lung problems," said Mr Tobias Masengere of Adbernnie.

He expressed fears that toxic waste from the nearby Graniteside industrial area was finding its way to the illegal dumping site.

"If this is not dealt with immediately, it is a matter of time before residents experience an outbreak of serious diseases," complained Mr George Masaraure.

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