Residents have urged Gweru City Council (GCC) to prioritize improvement of water supply and the relocation of the woodlands dumpsite as we approach the budget formulation season period.
This was said during the Budget Consultation Indaba held at YWCA in Mkoba recently, organized by Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA).
A concerned resident, Andrew Ziyapha said there is need for the relocation of the Woodlands dumpsite, since it poses a health and environmental risk.
“People are at risk of diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and cancer. We are seriously in trouble. What is council considering regarding the situation since most of our houses are just a few meters from the dumpsite?
“There are thousands of residents living in the area including innocent souls that include women and children. We understand that the Woodlands issue is a high capital project and it needs more funds but it is not on the proposed budget you have given us,” he said.
Chairman for Ward 16 Development Committee under Woodlands, Obert Rupanga said how the recycling of masks from dumpsites could lead to the rise of COVID-19 cases in Gweru.
“Children from Woodlands are reportedly picking masks from the nearby dumpsite and then reuse them, exposing themselves to COVID-19,” he said.
However, Ward 9 resident Laizah Phiri said the local authority in its 2021 budget must commit to restoring basic water and sanitation services through maintenance, rehabilitation and upgrading of infrastructure.
“Water supply should be the main priority in this city since most wards have no water. It is a blessing if water comes out. They should invest our money towards our health since we are at danger of another cholera and typhoid outbreak in the city.
“We are grandmothers and we do all the household chores and without water, one cannot wash clothes, cook, water our gardens and even bath.
“Our water infrastructure is dilapidated and water bursts are now frequent. Urgent attention is critical to improve our water and sanitation services,” she said.
Speaking at the same occasion responding to residents’ questions, Gweru Mayor Josiah Makombe said for the removal of the Woodlands, US$1 million is needed.
He added that, there are still in the process of allocating a piece of land at Go-Beer farm for the Woodlands dumpsite.
“An Environmental Impact Assessment was done and all the necessary paperwork was processed to place the dumpsite at Woodlands. The place was regarded as a non-human settlement. Poor planning was done by the government and we have approached the relevant ministries to come up with the solution.
We need over US$1 million to remove the dumpsite to another site away from the people. Engineers are in the process of surveying a suitable site for dumpsite,” he said.
Mayor Makombe said they are looking at developmental partners to remove the dumpsite.