By Watmore Makokoba
Residents from Zvimba communal area have been pushed to bear the brunt of an ineffective waste management system from the neighboring Harare culminating into garbage being illegally dumped into their community causing conflicts, a threat to human life and animals.
The locals in rural Rainham Ward 25, located a couple of kilometers from Dzivaresekwa extension expressed dismay on the rate at which people are trickling in at night to dump garbage in their community.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, one villager said, “We live in rural areas where logically we do not produce waste as much as our urban counterparts, but here we are, you wake up and find a sack full of baby diapers in your backyard and you wonder where it is coming from,
He added that “We had to discover later that people are driving from Harare coming to dump waste here, some dump the waste in water bodies such as dams posing a health hazard to aqua life, domestic and wild animals”
Illegal dumps are quickly turning this community into a toxic illegal dumpsite, a sad development that has prompted the local people to raise red flags fearing for their welfare if this is not brought under control.
This new anomaly has not come in peace in this community as it has subsequently triggered conflicts as fellow community members counter blame each for dumping rubbish at night.
Another villager, Nyarai Chingombe weighed in “Most people here are no longer living in harmony as everyone blames each other for having ‘Illegally dumped garbage on their fields or homesteads,
“Recently, some suspected toxins were dumped in Kanyuchi dam by the same coming from Harare and this affected aqua life, we saw dead fish floating on the water”.
Moses Tendaupenyu, Zvimba District Environmental Officer called for an urgent inquiry by both the local District council and Harare City council to facilitate solving the issue.
“The growth of illegal dumps in this community is affecting people, beings, domestic animals and it’s a serious health threat beings, it’s disheartening that the culprits are not local people but from Harare,
“That is why we are supporting the creation of Environmental By-Laws so that at least there is set terms on dealing with such issues”, said Tendaupenyu.
This was revealed during a community engagement exercise for the Environment Africa initiated environmental by-laws making process, aimed at fostering rural districts sustainable resources utilization and development by putting in place laws and regulations that govern environmental management.
Environment Africa, working with supporting partners such as the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA), Environmental Management Agents (EMA), Traditional Leaders and the Agricultural Extension Departments is facilitating the creation of environmental by-laws for rural district councils.
Peri-urban areas have always faced conflicts due to increasing urbanization as people from nearby urban areas usually compete with local residents for scarce resources and in this case, the negative impact of illegal waste dumping on the rise in this community cannot be overemphasized.
Some Harare residents have taken the matter of garbage disposal into their hands citing the City council has dismally failed to fulfill its mandate of refuse collection. One such case has been the outbreak of typhoid that rocked the city recently, an incident that experts say uncollected garbage contaminated drinking water thereby greatly contributing to the outbreak.
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