Tafadzwa Chibukwa, Chronicle Reporter
A HEALTH hazard is looming in Bulawayo’s Gwabalanda suburb as sewage is flowing in homes and on the streets, with residents offering to chip in and assist the city council to address the perennial sewer bursts.
The sewer bursts have affected 30 houses in the suburb, with raw effluent flowing into homes and on the streets.
Disgruntled residents said despite reporting to the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) on numerous occasions, nothing has been done to permanently address the problem.
The residents accuse BCC of neglecting its duties which could result in the outbreak of water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
In interviews yesterday, disgruntled residents said they are now living in fear of contracting diseases.
“This problem of sewer pipe bursts has been ongoing for a month, and even if the council comes and attends to it, the following day the situation will be the same. I think BCC workers are tired of attending to this problem because when we report, they take time to come,” said Mr Prince Tendai.
“We are fed up and as residents, we are actually willing to assist the council in any possible way so that there is a permanent solution since the council says it does not have adequate resources.”
Mr Tendai said due to the stench emanating from the effluent, they are now forced to spend most of the time indoors.
“The environment is no longer conducive for our children and they are now spending most of their time indoors,” he said.
Another resident, Mrs Taelo Nare said they were exposed to unhealthy conditions.
“We are sitting on a health time bomb and maybe the council wants to act when they start to see people dying of water-borne diseases. As residents, we feel that the local authority is not prioritising the issues of sewer pipe bursts,” she said.
“If this problem is not addressed, we are going to contract diseases such as typhoid and cholera as the sewer bursts expose us to diseases.”
Mr Velile Moyo said children are the most vulnerable as they are exposed to diseases while playing in sewage ponds.
“Everywhere it’s sewer flowing and children are seen playing all over the place barefooted, oblivious of the dangers of contracting diseases. At my house, I have actually created a hole on the precast wall to allow effluent to flow out of the yard into the streets,” she said.
BCC corporate communications manager, Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said the council is struggling to acquire the required machinery to deal with the sewer bursts.
“Yes, the City of Bulawayo is aware of the fault. We have been facing challenges with the jetting machine and rodding has been failing to address the sewer chokes. A contractor has been assigned to the area to address the sewer challenge,” she said.
Mrs Mpofu attributed the sewer bursts to acts of vandalism.
In September, two people succumbed to diarrhoea in Bulawayo while more than 1 359 cases were recorded between August and September. — @Sagepapie14.