Tapiwa Mutizamhepo Herald Reporter
GOVERNMENT has intensified monitoring and supervision of local authorities’ waste management practices amid concerns of increased contamination of urban water sources, derailing its efforts to curb the spread of diarrhoeal diseases.
Speaking at a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) stakeholders workshop in Harare last week, Acting Secretary for Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Engineer Tinayeshe Mutazu said some councils were battling to effectively manage waste water, which is being discharged into water sources.
The workshop was organised by Cholera Secretariat in partnership with HigherLife Foundation as part of ongoing wider consultations to formulate a strategy aimed at ending cholera by 2028.
“As Government, we have moved in to start looking at supervising and monitoring activities of local authorities,” said Eng Mutazu. “We shall make sure that their infrastructure and water servicing are well maintained.
“We have also instituted service level benchmarking where the local authorities themselves do peer-to-peer review in terms of the services they offer and at what level to do that.”
Eng Mutazu said Government will continue engaging corporate partners to help local authorities to rehabilitate their water and sewer reticulation infrastructure to meet the demands of an increasing urban population.
“We have started a programme where, as Government working with corporate partners, got funding to rehabilitate waste water infrastructure,” he said.
“We have already attended to some areas in Harare, Mutare, Masvingo and Chegutu and their sewerage services have improved to some extent.
“We will continue doing that rehabilitation stage by stage. We have also realised that part of the challenges are to do with many people living in urban areas and the service having been failing to cope with the huge numbers that we have in towns.
“We are also moving in to those areas that are not yet rehabilitated to ensure that they are brought on line so that whatever waste comes out of the areas is properly treated before it is then discharged.”
Zimbabwe experienced its worst case of cholera outbreak in 2008 where an estimated 98 000 cases were reported, with over 4 000 deaths reported between August 2008 and June 2009 across the country, leading to the Government declaring a national emergency.
Much of the affected areas were high-density suburbs in Harare, Chitungwiza, Chegutu and Kadoma.