Health Hazard Looms As Fuel Shortages Cripple Harare Garbage Collection

Zimbabwe’s obtaining fuel crisis has forced City of Harare to collect garbage below optimal levels which could pose health risks to Harare residents.

By Kudakwashe Pembere

Harare City reviewed its garbage collection roaster leaving out some areas unattended leaving residents prone to respiratory conditions, with a typical example being Surat in India, where a pneumonic plague epidemic broke out in 1994, causing 52 deaths.

Overflowing and uncollected waste bins are also an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, insects and vermin.

Notifying Harare residents via social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, Harare City said they deployed 16 trucks today.

“Due to the prevailing fuel shortages on the market, we are unable to do our scheduled garbage collections. Today 16 garbage trucks were deployed. They have since exhausted their daily allocations,” said Harare City.

The City of Harare said they are trying to secure the elusive fuel.

“Efforts are being made to secure fuel. Once we are able to access fuel we will deploy the vehicles to their daily duties. We regret any inconveniences that may arise as a result of non-collection,” the City Fathers apologised.

According to ECubeLabs, apart from causing all sorts of health and environmental issues, overflowing garbage is a public nuisance and eyesore. “Everyone wants to live and visit places that are fresh, clean and healthy. A smelly city with poor sanitation and trash all over the place does not attract people or tourists, let alone investments. Cities keep losing money, and they also miss out on the revenue and job opportunities coming from proper waste control and recycling,” said the company.

Edugreen also notes that poor disposal of waste breeds microbial pathogens.

“In particular, organic domestic waste poses a serious threat, since they ferment, creating conditions favourable to the survival and growth of microbial pathogens. Direct handling of solid waste can result in various types of infectious and chronic diseases with the waste workers and the rag pickers being the most vulnerable,” the website said.

A research done at Midlands State University notes that the original aim of regulating waste disposal is to reduce the introduction of polluting substances into the atmosphere since protection of the environment is a major challenge facing developing countries such as Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, the change in the waste collection routine comes hot on the heels of the national clean-up campaign spearheaded by Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The national clean-up campaign was launched in Highfield’s Machipisa Centre.

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