by Jussa Kudherezera
The protection of the right to health and a clean environment is a far fetched dream from residents of Chisamba Singles section, New Zororo sections of Sakubva, in Mutare. Passersby who use the route via the St Joseph’s cemetery to and from St Joseph’s hospital, secondary and primary schools are also exposed to the perennial sewerage burst that has been splurging human waste with no respite in sight. These people all risk contracting diseases such as typhoid and cholera because of exposure to an ongoing sewerage burst close to St Joseph’s cemetery.
This sewerage problem has become perennial as it has been gushing out for months now with the local authority failing to get it repaired. It appears Council now regards this long standing issue as a normal sewerage disposal which needs no attention. This lack of urgency by the City fathers to attend to the problem according to many affected residents is due to the fact that the sewerage burst is in the high density areas of sakubva affecting the poor, otherwise had I been in any of the affluent areas of the city, the local authority would have long repaired this. It shows how trite the local authority holds the rights of the poor. In most cases the crumbling public infrastructure and services are most visible in the poor stricken areas as duty bearers such as Mutare city council and government don’t give attention to such utilities.
It’s a form of violence that is being inflicted upon the poor. The sewerage emits such a foul smell that should make ones head reek with pain and fills the whole area while providing a perfect breeding ground for house flies popularly known as “green bombers” which buzz around.
There are fat rodents mostly rats also feeding off the sewerage which however make multiple visits to nearby residential areas such as the Chisamba Singles and new Zororo sections. Residents are now in a constant trouble of fending off rodents and snakes which constantly chase these rats.
It is only through the grace of God that residents especially children have not fallen ill. The raw sewerage flows directly into Sakubva river which flows down to Dora putting the lives of thousands of people and animals living downstream. The river provides a lifeline to many households in Dora who live off its “poopy” waters through horticulture especially gardening. Sakubva river deposits its permanent grey matter at times with visible human waste bobbing up and down into Odzi river 25km further down stream.
Going forward, City of Mutare must attend to this major sewer blockage so that residents risk to contracting diseases is minimized. There problem affects many people and animals downstream who are equally affected. The Environmental Management Agency should also be proactive and work with the local authority to manage this health and environmental disaster. Council must also deploy devolution funds towards rehabilitation of the aging sewer and water system since there are many such unattended sewer bursts in Sakubva and Dangamvura. This should arrest multiple problems of disease, snakes, rodents, foul smell in the affected areas and bring some dignity and a healthy environment for all.