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Bulawayo engages private firm to collect refuse

Two weeks ago, residents who said they feared an outbreak of diseases, were up in arms against the council accusing it of failing to collect refuse that has been piling up for months.

The absence of refuse bins had also resulted in residents dumping their garbage at almost every open space. According to the latest council report, Waste Management Services (WMS), which has been awarded a 12-month contract, would concentrate of refuse collection in the city’s eastern areas.

“Waste Management Services would be given eastern areas to collect refuse and council will concentrate on high-density suburbs and all commercial and industrial areas including the central business district (CBD),” states the report.

“It has been agreed that the tenure of the contract awarded to Waste Management Services be 12 months, instead of six months, so as to allow the contractor to recoup.”

Most suburbs in Bulawayo are littered with illegal dumpsites because of council’s failure to collect refuse frequently. Currently, refuse collection is done fortnightly in eastern areas and once in every month in the western areas.

The engagement of WMS will also see refuse collection in western areas being done fortnightly. The company will also supply the local authority with plastic bins to every household.

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has in the past expressed concern over the random garbage disposal in Bulawayo by residents saying it was causing a serious threat to human health.

Refuse collection and maintenance came to a halt in 2008 during the country’s economic meltdown. The situation was compounded by the central government’s failure to approve the council’s supplementary budgets.

In 2008 and 2009, the country experienced a cholera outbreak which was exacerbated by dumped refuse and poor water reticulation system in most cities.

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