By Delicious Mathuthu
Gweru residents are fuming with Gweru City fathers over waste management after parts of the city went for almost two months without collection.
Gweru City Council , which is struggling to keep its obsolete fleet of refuse compactors on the road, has seen the mushrooming of illegal dumpsites in around the Central Business District and residential areas.A snap survey made by The Gweru Times online revealed that despite the CBD central streets being maintained clean, alleyways behind buildings have become dumpsites for uncollected refuse.
At the Kudzanai vegetable market serious consideration by the City fathers in putting measures to sanitise the market is needed as some vegetable stalls were allocated just a meter from a dumping area, despite provision of skip bins.
In Mkoba and Ascot, illegal dumpsites have re- appeared in most open spaces regardless of efforts by the local Councilors through cleanup campaigns to maintain sanity.
Speaking to The Gweru Times online, one of Gweru residents association representative Mr Reward Mhuri from Gweru United Residents Association (GURA) said the refuse situation in Gweru is ‘pathetic’.“Things are bad especially in the (GCC) Department of Health. The situation is pathetic to say the least.Generally in most wards its now close to two months without collection of refuse. Talk of the CBD, check the sanitary lanes, Kudzanai area, TM rank, park, public toilets, the area around Cathedral, and you will realise what I mean.We can attribute the failure to implement effective and efficient measures in the collection of refuse to lack of vehicles but to an extent it is how council prioritizes its resources,” Mhuri said.
Mhuri added that in February 2018 the association commended council when the Town Clerk Mrs Elizabeth Gwatipedza announced that they will engage private players to help with gabbage collection since they had inadequate refuse compactors but to date nothing has materialized.This was reiterated by one of the traders in the CBD Siphosami Ndlovu who said waste is a problem in the City even though from time to time they try to hide it by cleaning the open main streets.He said at Kudanai vegetable market sometimes they can go for a week without collecting waste while alleyways behind some buildings have becoming dumpsites and toilets for desperate pedestrians.
The city recently went for almost two months without refuse collection as the two refuse compactors that were operating from the eight owned by the City, were grounded needing repair.The Town Clerk Mrs Gwatipedza is on record saying of the eight refuse compactors owned by council, all have outlived their lifespan with the oldest being 21 years old its projected lifespan of of just five years.
Another residents association representative, Cornilia Selipiwe from Gweru Residents and Rate Payers Association (GRRA) said the sad part of the waste situation in Gweru is that the Local Authority is reactive instead of being pro-active against waste.He said “Council is already on the ground removing dumpsites but we are worried with this idea of fire-fighting instead of preventing the fire,” he said.
Selipiwe also blamed residents for irresponsible illegal dumping in the CBD and their respective residential areas.“As residents we should also have better ways disposing our waste. Council should carry out massive civic education on waste disposal or management,” said Selipiwe.
Gweru City Public Relation Officer Mr Manford Gambiza apologized to residents for the waste situation saying the Local Authority is not napping but have already repaired three of the refuse trucks which are back on the road, but are facing a massive backlog.“We now have three trucks on the road. Remember we have a backlog in our collection schedule which was created when we had all our trucks off the road. We also want to encourage our residents to make use of skip bins which are found in their areas.We are working overtime in a bid to clear the backlog. Our staff is doing work on weekends and in a few days we will be done with refuse”, he said before adding that “Gweru City would like to sincerely apologise to the inconvenience caused.”
The City Mayor Mr Josiah Makombe recently, through the media, said Gweru City is planning on drafting an anti-litter bye-law to deal with litter louts in order to ensure the City stays clean.