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MBARE residents have expressed concern over Harare City Council’s failure to collect refuse regularly in the suburb saying this could soon result in an outbreak of diseases.
BY JENNIFER DUBE
The suburb is one of the several in Harare that have been constantly hit by typhoid and cholera outbreaks in the past few years.
It is common to see hordes of green flies hovering over dumps of garbage especially in places such as Mbare Green market and Stodart Hall where children forage for toys.
“We are appealing to the city council to help us because our lives are at risk because of uncollected garbage found at every corner of the suburb,” said Justice Mariwani from New Lines in Mbare. “The city council can go for as long as two weeks without collecting refuse in our area.”
Tawanashe Mugari from the same suburb said garbage sometimes went uncollected for a month.
The residents suggested that the local authority collect refuse at least twice a week like it did in the past.
“I started living here in 1968 and back then, the city council collected refuse twice a week,” said a man from the suburb’s 2nd Street, New Lines. “Now they collect on Mondays only.”
Ana Mutsikure from Mbare’s Annex said maggots sometimes crawl from the rubbish dumps into their homes exposing people to diseases.
She added that children who sometimes play with the refuse have developed body sores while some suffer from diarrhoea.
“Council should give us bins and we will put the garbage in bins,” she said. “The problem is they discriminate against residents. Just yesterday [last week], some residents here at Annex were given bins while some of us were not.”
Another resident, Stella Mazhandu urged government to intervene to ensure that the situation in Mbare improved.
“How do they expect us to vote in such a situation?” she said.
At Shawasha Flats children could be seen playing on a heap of garbage which residents said had been there for more than a month.
“The council employees just carry litter from the bin and do not pick rubbish on the ground,” Admire Mlizani said. “This place [Shawasha] has many people and we are currently using one bin. We need about three to five bins.”
Harare Residents Trust (HRT) director Precious Shumba said the city council should collect refuse twice a day in Mbare because of the high activity that characterises the area.
“Mbare is highly populated and we have many people visiting the place each day to sell their wares at the bus rank, vegetable market and the flea market and this increases the risk of diseases due to the levels of littering taking place there,” Shumba said. “The city council should collect refuse twice a day.”
City of Harare spokesperson, Leslie Gwindi said council was doing its best to ensure Mbare’s environs were clean.
“In terms of the door-to-door collections which are done on a daily basis, we are on top of the game,” Gwindi said. “We however have a challenge removing the dumps because we do not have the equipment required for that.”
Gwindi said the dumps started about eight years ago when the local authority was facing many challenges.
“Again, the generation of refuse in Mbare is out of this world, so it will take time for us to deal with the situation,” he said.