Malawi — Blantyre July 31: While environmental officers indicate that the city assembly’s failure to correct household refuse is leading residents to light bushfires which in the end is polluting the air, the city officials have attributed the problem to what they call ‘irresponsible residents”.
Blantyre City Assembly (BCA) assistant director of health and social services, Peterkins Chisoni told the Malawi News Agency (Mana) that his department seems to be failing in its service delivery because the city residents are not responsible enough to dispose of their rubbish properly and also that they fail to pay their city rates.
“We are in financial difficulties as we are losing a lot of revenue due to unpaid city rates and on top of that, people tend to dump garbage in streams and drainages which consumes much of our time and money clearing the lot leading to delays in refuse collection.
“While we are trying our best to provide top service to our residents, they also need to play their role if standards of hygiene are to improve in our cities,” explained Chisoni.
Chisoni indicated that for one to say that the plenty bushfires are as a result of their failure to collect garbage in time, is one sweeping statement that the assembly disowns.
“The bushfires may be polluting the air, of course, but what of the old reconditioned vehicles that Malawians continue to import to this country,” queried Chisoni.
The city assembly’s stand on the matter contradicts the environmental officers’ discoveries which indicate that the abundance of bushfires is leading to air pollution.
“We attended a meeting in Lilongwe and it was discovered that people are burning their long due uncollected garbage which is leading to bushfires whose emissions are polluting the air.
“The government through our department is emphasizing the reforestation exercise as one way of improving the environment especially to purify the air yet with the issue of bushfires adding to air pollution, the battle toughens,” explained Nancy Chawawa, a Blantyre based environmental officer who attended the said meeting.
The residents who are said to contribute to the poor service delivery by BCA feel they are getting a row deal from the assembly hence they feel not obliged to pay city rates.
Chimwemwe Mausa a resident of Manja Township indicated that while the city assembly is failing to collect garbage from her place, she would rather use the money to pay anyone willing to dispose the waste at a nearby stream and that leaves her with no wish and money to sort out her city rates.
“I, for one, find paying the city rates as last thing on my list of priorities as I find that the assembly looks at my hygiene and welfare as last on their list too,” explained Mausa.
BCA, which blows an estimated K1.5 million every week in refuse collection only, firmly calls on the city residents to responsibly dispose of their garbage as well as settle their city rates bills for it to run its operations smoothly.