Residents of an informal settlement in Zimbabwe’s second largest city Bulawayo, are battling a fire that is causing serious air pollution in the area, and threatens to burn their makeshift houses.
Ngozi mine dumpsite has been burning for the past five days, releasing harmful smoke and gases into the atmosphere. The cause of the fire is yet to be established. Settlers at the site, most of whom survive on scavenging from the dumpsite are counting their losses.
“What happens is that garbage is thrown here. We who survive on litter don’t burn it, but for them when the fire starts burning, they will be around but it will be difficult for them to extinguish it. They cannot blame us for starting the fire because we live and earn a living here”, Ngozi Mine Residents’ Representative, Gideon Tshuma, told ZTN News.
“We cannot escape the fact that we live here and are determined to live here forever. If they continue burning fire here and not pouring sand on it, it will burn forever. They should all come.
EMA, Bulawayo Residents Association, City Council. We should all come together and discuss the issue,” he said.
The Environmental Management Agency said it has issued orders to Bulawayo City Council before, over repeated fire outbreaks at the dumpsite.
“We are not condoning what is happening and we are engaging the city council and taking the proper action in terms of law enforcement. I think very soon they will be able to attend to the situation. We have given them orders but the fires are recurring so now we are taking other routes so that the issues are taken care of,” said EMA Provincial Environmental Manager for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Sithembisiwe Ndlovu.