Zimbabwe: Environmental Disaster Looms in Harare

vrijdag, 31 oktober 2014 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal

Bron: allafrica.com/stories/201410301443.html
30 okt. 2014

Vuilnis wegwerken lukt niet, maar ze zijn zich al wel bewust van de gevaren voor de gezondheid van RF straling van zendmasten e.d., zie onderaan dit artikel.
Als we het zo lezen loopt Nederland achter t.o.v. Zimbabwe.

By Andrew Kunambura
FAILURE by the Harare City Council (HCC) to implement an effective solid waste management system has left residents at the mercy of an environmental disaster that could explode anytime unless something is done to mitigate the impending tragedy. This conclusion was reached by the HCC's Environmental Management Committee, which looked into the state of refuse collection in the capital between July and September this year, particularly in high density suburbs.

During the three-month period, the committee noted that Harare residents were being forced to dump solid wastes on the outskirts of their residential areas due to failure by the city fathers to collect refuse on time. ''Routine door-to-door waste collection schedule was interrupted by vehicle breakdowns and the late delivery of fuel. This resulted in serious collection backlogs affecting all suburbs,'' reads part of the report.

It was also noted that the Department of Waste Management was grappling with the shortage of refuse collection trucks and refuse bags. Only 15 000 refuse bags were distributed to residents against the 200 000 required per quarter. ''15 000 bags were purchased (during the quarter) in accordance with departmental expenditure facility limit of US$10 000. These were distributed but did not meet the requirements,'' the report continued.

Solid wastes, when improperly disposed, can be an environmental and health hazard. Illegal waste dumps cause floating islands of toxic pollutants in water sources. For this reason, Harare's water has been condemned as unsafe for drinking and has the potential to cause both immediate diseases like diarrhoea and long-term effects such as brain damage.

Some of these wastes can also be very harmful to the atmosphere as they get improperly discharged which can lead to the destruction of the ozone layer and may cause diseases such as cancer. Air pollution can also lead to formation of acidic rain which is dangerous to crop life since it fastens the removal of soil fertility from the surface of the ground.

It also affects drainage, thereby further increasing the risk of water bone diseases. The Housing and Community Services Committee has also produced a report, which highlights the damage being done to the city's wetlands. Harare is fast losing its wetlands as land barons continue to illegally parcel out land to desperate home seekers on water logged areas.

Wetlands are ecological sites of importance as supporting bio-diversity, water purification, water storage, flow regulation, water provision, carbon appropriation and they control floods. However, over the years they have faced destruction and are on the verge of extinction. As it is, Harare is faced with dwindling underground waters sources because of the destruction of wetlands.

Another report noted the potential harmful exposure of residents to radiation effects from telecommunication base stations. The report expressed concern that mobile telecommunication companies were exposing residents to radiation because of the increase in site density per square kilometre for base stations mobile cellular operators respond to the rising demand for their services.

''The committee noted that promotion of aesthetic masts should be integrated with other proposals to reduce the health risk (due to radiation effects) such as mounting on high rise buildings, reduction of cluster base stations through improved co-sitting and co location arrangements that maximise use of available infrastructure and investment in modern cell technologies such as Wimax and wireless broadband that are environmental friendly,'' says the report.

Cancer is considered by most people the primary health effect from radiation exposure. Town Clerk, Tendai Mahachi has been tasked with engaging the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority to come up with measures that could be used to regulate trans-receiver base stations in Harare and elsewhere. The three reports have since been adopted by council.

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