Silobela villagers face health time bomb

Gweru residents are dumping garbage in Gweru River, threatening livelihoods of communities downstream in Silobela and Lower Gweru who depend on the water source.

A survey carried out by Southern Eye yesterday, revealed that residents from Gweru’s medium-density suburbs of Athlone and Nashville are dumping waste such as used sanitary pads and baby diapers in the river.

The development could trigger outbreak of waterborne diseases and harm livestock as well.

Residents who spoke to this publication said they have no choice, but to dump waste in the river because council was not collecting refuse.

“We are being charged for refuse collection every month, but it seems the money is going down the drain because council is not doing its work. We can’t keep the garbage in our backyards so we are left with no option, but to dump into the river,” said one resident.

In 2015 Gweru City Council was fined US$5 000 by the Environmental Management Agency for discharging raw sewage into Gweru River.

The local authority later took steps to plug the spillage.

Gweru City Council spokesperson Vimbai Chingwaramusee said the local authority will train residents on proper waste disposal to resolve the problem, while insisting that its schedule for refuse collection was regular.

“We are collecting refuse. However, some residents have a tendency of dumping the garbage in the river. We are kindly asking our residents to desist from that behaviour. We are also engaging our residents on proper waste disposal measures that do not become a health hazard,” she said.

“We are also going to conduct awareness programmes so that residents know our schedules for collecting refuse. All things being equal, we collect refuse from residential areas once per week and daily at commercial centres and in the central business district.”

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