Glen View cholera time bomb

Features Zimbabwe

Fatima Karuweni

FAILURE by the Harare City Council to collect garbage and attend to burst sewer pipes is creating a health hazard, raising fears of another cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe’s capital.

With the city failing to collect litter bins and to attend to burst sewer pipes on time, residents of Glen View, a low income suburb south of the capital, live in fear of a cholera epidemic. Glen View was the epicenter of a cholera outbreak in 2018, which claimed the lives of 30 people.

During a tour of the suburb, ZTN saw mounds of garbage in the area that has gone for months without being collected. Raw sewerage water was flowing in Third Crescent, a street in Glen View One, and children were playing in it, oblivious of the health hazard.

Clouds of bottle flies commonly referred to as green bombers, buzzed on maggot infested heaps of uncollected garbage. The conditions are an ideal recipe for a cholera outbreak. 

 With garbage piling and sewerage flowing onto the streets, residents are worried the area is teetering on the brink of another cholera disaster.

“The council should repair burst sewer pipes urgently. Sewerage water is flowing all over my place, flies are everywhere. My children are down with diarrhoea and I fear for the worst,” Arnold Bhobho, a resident, told ZTN.

Another resident, Witness Gaka blamed council for poor service delivery in Glen View.

“Council should tackle the problems of uncollected garbage and burst sewer pipes before the onset of the rains, to avoid a repeat of 2018,” Gaka said.

In what appears a blame game, city authorities hit back and blamed residents for the burst sewer pipes. Harare Waste Water Manager, Engineer Simon Muserere accused residents of dumping solid waste in toilets and manholes, which he said causes blockages. He also said the current water rationing programme is to blame for the suburb’s sewerage problems.

“We noted that sewer systems are overwhelmed by waste when water is not available during the ongoing water rationing, and this causes the sewer pipes to burst,” he explained.

Muserere said council had come up with a number of projects to tackle the problem.

“We are procuring water bowsers and we will drill solar powered boreholes in the community to curb this problem, “he added.

Harare was once called the Sunshine City because it was clean and well managed, but now with service delivery down, it is a pale shadow of its former self.