WINDHOEK – Seven months after Katima Mulilo’s temporary dumping site was opened, residents are still subjected to flies and a stench of garbage. Situated on the western outskirts of the town and opposite Benjamin Bebi, Butterfly and New Cowboy locations, which are eastward and within a radius of 1.5 kilometres of the site, the dumping site emits a cloud of smoke which forms over those locations. The Katima Mulilo Town Council started using the new temporary site in January 2019 and it is not yet known when a suitable site in line with the Environmental Management Act 7 of 2007 will be found.
The manager of Puma service station at the town, Esme Nortje, said the danger of an explosion for having fires just 400 metres away from her 83 000 litres of fuel when council burns the rubbish is very high.
Nortje said that she also runs a restaurant at her business premises and she is experiencing a lot of flies since the temporary site became operational. The fence of her business premises was also cut down for council to make a road to the site. “If the fuel tanks catch fire then the whole town can even burn down,” she warned. Nortje told New Era that she had approached council with her complaint but nothing has been done to date.
A council employee who prefers anonymity for fear of victimisation explained that he was aware of the problem as residents of the affected area have been complaining on the local radio station and even at the town council’s offices.
Council had identified a suitable alternative dumping site, but which falls outside the boundaries and jurisdiction of the town, in Liselo.
Liselo is under the Mafwe Traditional Authority’s jurisdiction.
“There is a meeting slated towards the end of September between town council and Liselo sub-khuta for the purpose of reaching an agreement on the identified suitable area,” the employee said.
Raphael Liswaniso, the town’s CEO, could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press as he was hosting a meeting.
The health risk involving air pollution is the same problem which necessitated the setting up of a temporary dumping site thereby closing the old one which was situated on the north-western outskirts of the town right behind Unam Katima campus, Zambezi Vocational Training Centre (ZVTC) and the Makaravani-east informal settlement.
Obrien Sinkolela, secretary of Liselo sub-khuta under the Mafwe Traditional Authority, refuted claims that council is in consultations or it had put in a land application with his sub-khuta and noted that the last land application that his sub-khuta had received from council was at least two years ago and it was turned down.
* Mashazi Mahoto is a second-year media student at Unam doing internship at New Era.