Fri, Jan 21, 2022

Climate, Environmental Justice & Energy

Waste poses a threat to public health and the environment in Mutare

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By Jussa Kudherezera

Uncollected garbage in the high density suburbs of Mutare threatens people’s livelihood. For the past one month, the Mutare City Council has failed to follow the scheduled time for garbage collection in Chineta and Avenues. With the amount of rainfall that has been predicted by the Metrological Department, the uncollected garbage will result in the outbreak of cholera. The areas have become the breeding place for mosquitoes.

It is sad that unwashed pumpers are damped and children are seen playing in those unfavourable areas. This shows that our children are exposed to health dangers which will result to either sickness or death.

Manica Youth Assembly, an organization that advocates for the environment, therefore asks the Mutare City Council to comply to the scheduled timetable for the collection of garbage because monthly, people are charged refuse collection fund. Residents therefore appeal to the council to take action before the spread of diseases.

Urban farming a threat to wetlands in Epworth

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by Henry Kane

Wetlands are being threatened by urban agriculture in Harare after people receive inputs but don’t have places to plant the maize. Wetlands help replenish and purify water naturally and also helps in harvesting and storing water before it flows away to big dams or to the sea. If people plant in the wetlands, this will strain the water table hence contributing to climate change. After receiving Pfumvudza inputs and the coming of the rains, people have just forgotten about the perennial water problems in Epworth. As much as it a good gesture from the government to help the urban people we have to be more responsible in dealing with other problems as communities.

Epworth has no water supply on it’s own and heavily relies on the City of Harare for piped water but most of the areas have to get water from underground source. Of late, the local authority and partners have been drilling boreholes and installing solar power on some of the boreholes and this is to try and try get every one water. If the local authority and the community don’t protect the wetlands will have a bigger problem in the next 7 to 10 years or even less in terms of water in Epworth.

St Peter’s residents living in fear of the consequences of sand poaching

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By Providence Moyo

Bulawayo’s St Peters residents are calling for an urgent solution on how to tackle sand poachers who have become a menace in the area. These poachers threaten St Peters resident’s lives. Last week, Freddy Ncube’s house was destroyed as a result of sand poaching especially during the rain season.

Residents are concerned as this may prove fatal for their children as they say if the situation is not urgently tackled, these pits might become death traps for their children. Unfortunately both the local authority and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) are aware of the predicament facing Ward 17.

High rate of waste effluent in Polopoto river a cause for concern

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By Delphia Mchenga

Mulanje (MJ) District hospital continues to dispose their waste in Polopoto river as such the quality of water decreases. People around MJ hospital market and Njedza are concerned the most because they are unable to use the water for either irrigation or other purposes. This is due to improper waste disposal from the hospital such as plastics and municipal waste water among others that contribute to the contamination of the river. Polluter Pays Principle should be imposed on the district hospital and the council because they are all aware of the incident and are trained on proper waste disposal and the impact it has on environment. The river must be treated before the water borne diseases are transferred into Likhubula River where Polopoto ends.

Charcoal burning-the eco-system under threat

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By Zione James

Charcoal burning is the only and an opted income generating activity for most people of Group Village Headman Chipamba and surrounding areas in the outskirts of Liwonde township in Machinga.

Chipamba is one of the blessed communities in hills and mountains but the blessing is being overlooked day in- day out.

People around this area take charcoal burning as a source of income, little to their knowledge does they realize that the practice has a greater negative impact on the environment and indeed the eco-system including human lives.

Every time a tree falls, it adds to the ever increasing bare land. Without trees, the rains erode the soil, no shade for many animals, reduced oxygen production and insects that help the ecological cycle. A bare land runs out water faster than a covered land. In the process, due to lack of trees, eventually the rains processing becomes so challenging and in the long ran the rains stop. We can go on and on disapproving the notion of deforestation.

Forestry officials in the area are well aware of the problem and assured this community volunteer that they are doing their best restraining people from the malpractice by confiscating charcoal and sometimes reporting charcoal burners to the Police, but all the efforts are still proving to be futile simply because the state machinery has been reactive to charcoal burning and lacks strategic engagement to ensure the communities are economically empowered through other entrepreneurial skills than charcoal burning.

A charcoal burner (name withheld), said she is well aware that charcoal burning has a hand in degrading land and causing soil erosion but it is a very cheap way of sourcing income, adding that it will be difficult for her to stop the act because that is her only means of survival.

Former Minister urges Bulawayo citizens to keep the city clean

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By Mabel Khumalo

Former Minister of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture, David Coltart has urged Bulawayo citizens to take part in keeping the city clean.

“Bulawayo’s streets and open areas have become a disgrace. The amount of litter in our streets and open areas is growing daily and our once beautiful city looks unkempt,” he said in his social media account. He said that the point of his blog was certainly not to glorify the small efforts he also takes to help keep litter off Bulawayo streets but to encourage every citizen to take action to stop the rot. “All of us can afford to spend a little time cleaning up outside our homes, and outside our businesses. If every person decided to clean up, the city would be transformed within a week,” he wrote.

He further suggested that people need to be educated about the bad effects of littering. He also urged residents to report companies and individuals who dump litter at an industrial scale, as they needed to be prosecuted for mass land pollution. “We need to develop a new culture of pride in our city, and it starts with those of us who have the capacity to clean up where ever we can,” added Coltart.

Open ditches, a cause for concern for Epworth residents

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By Rosalia Guvamombe

The case of open lands is worrisome to nearby houses in Glenwood Park, Epworth. The land was invaded by construction trucks digging pit-sand for sale thereby causing very wide pits which are now developing to deep ditches. Nearby residents are worried since these are death pools for children during rainy season. The other worrisome activity being done is people have turned these into dumping sites. Furthermore these ditches are widening towards already built houses thereby causing unstableness of the foundation of the houses. The writer engaged the Councilor of the Ward 3 concerning this issue and he said the land was not supposed to be sold as a residential area since it was already in a bad state , but the council sold the land in that bad state and they are now saying its the responsibility of the owner of the stands to fill in the ditches. The council said they will only chip in when the owner has approached them to help.

Urban subsistence farmers bemoan delayed rainfall

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By Minenhle Moyo

The rise of urban farming in Zimbabwe over the years has served as one of the ways through which families in Bulawayo, the country’s second-largest city have adjusted to hunger.

Residents who had been farming and reaping twice in the rainy season to realize more output have expressed concern over the delayed rainfall. The increase in rates has worsened the situation for urban farmers who could have opted to water their crops as they wait for the rains.

Most families are now living in panic as they might not reap as much as they did in previous years to sustain their families, in light of the ever-increasing prices for basic commodities.

Blantyre vendors’ right to health under threat

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By Yamikani Chiphazi

Vendors at Limbe Market, Blantyre, Malawi, are putting their lives in danger as the Limbe River turns out to be a source of water-borne diseases. Water in the Limbe river is not clean and the river banks contain a lot of garbage. This problem has been there for decades and authorities keep on turning a blind eye to the problem without proffering a longlasting solution.

During the cleanup exercise that happened around the river, the Limbe Ward Councillor, Gerald Lipikwe said that he is advocating and lobbying with the Director of Health Services at Blantyre City to implement already planned long-lasting solutions like establishing a healthy committee at the market that will be supervising the river to ensure the cleanliness of the water from the river.

Sand poaching claiming lives in Bulawayo

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By Minenhle Moyo

Sand poaching is rampant in and around Bulawayo, causing serious land degradation in the city. The sand is used for construction work. The pits dug by sand poachers have become death traps and in February 2021, a 15-year-old Pelandaba West boy drowned in an abandoned pit. The same pit claimed the life of a 12-year-old girl who drowned in December last year. The Bulawayo City Council has done little to address the issue, citing manpower shortages.