RESIDENTS have raised concern over the continued air pollution emanating from Pomona dumpsite owned by Harare City Council, which caught fire on Saturday.
A huge cloud of smoke emanating from the dumpsite has caused serious air pollution in Harare’s northern suburbs. When The Herald visited the dumpsite, the inferno was still raging.
The road leading to the dumpsite has since been closed by the Zimbabwe National Army whose barracks are adjacent to the dumpsite.
The closure was necessary to curb road accidents since the smoke was affecting visibility.
A Pomona resident told The Herald the situation was unbearable.
“Council needs to urgently come up with measures that will stop these fire outbreaks from occurring.
“It is now known that during the hot season, such fires are prone to happen. This is not the first time this has happened. I am sure there are ways of preventing the fire from occurring, which they can implement,” said Mr Fast Nikau.
Another resident described the situation as inconveniencing.
“Imagine having to drive through the smoke. It is not clear at all. We are happy they have considered closing the road for now as it helps prevent accidents, but we feel council still has a big role to play in terms of waste management so as to avoid this from happening again,” said a resident only identified Ms Madamombe.
“We are not happy with the polluted air that we are breathing as it exposes us to diseases.
Harare Residents Trust director Precious Shumba also raised concern over the fire outbreak.
“The major cause of this burning is attributed to residents trying to minimise the amount of garbage strewn around the dumpsite where loose papers are contaminating the environment,” he said.
He urged council to come up with a lasting solution to the problem. “The City of Harare, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate and the Environmental Management Agency have to fully collaborate to find ways of mitigating such environmental disasters.
“The risks involved are significant to residents’ health when the environment is contaminated like this. The result is that the affected residents will increase the burden on public health institutions as more people will be requiring medical attention,” said Mr Shumba.
EMA spokesperson Mr Steady Kangata said they had since banned the use of dumpsites and advocated landfills.
“In terms of our law, issues to do with dumpsites have been outlawed in terms of Statutory Instrument 6 of 2007. The reason of outlawing open dumpsites is because they are susceptible to fire outbreaks like in this particular case and another that occurred in 2014.
“As EMA we had already foreseen those problems and hence we want all the local authorities to have landfills as opposed to dumping sites,” he said.
He added: “We are working hard to make sure that the fire is extinguished even though it is quite a battle because it is a fire which is deep-seated and is also being supported by the gases from the trash, which add the venom.”
Council acting spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme was quoted yesterday as saying council was making frantic efforts to contain the fire. Herald