Luwinga residents in Mzuzu city have expressed concerns over poor sanitation around their market, and have asked the city council authorities to quickly address a bad smell produced by garbage at the market, to prevent outbreaks such as diarrhea and cholera and other diseases.
A visit by this reporter, found that vendors are dumping garbage within the market, which produces the bad smell and making it difficult for people to breath.
Speaking in random interviews, most vendors said they decided to turn the place into a dumping site, due to the lack of proper waste disposal facility at the market. They also accused Mzuzu City Council authorities for failing to remove the waste in time.
“We have resorted to this dumping site due to lack of a proper place to dumping our wastes. We know that our lives are at risk of contracting air borne diseases, but we have no option,” said one of the female vendors identified as Alice Mkandawire.
She said the vendors have tried to present their concerns to the city council through their Councilor, Khumbo Halawa and the market committee, but to no avail.
“What pains us most, is that we pay market fees on a daily basis, with expectations that the same money will be used to develop the market, but if you look in our surroundings, you cant understand that it’s a big market for the township, which supplies the city council with a lot of money.
“we are worried about the situation, and we badly need the intervention of the council, because they are the ones responsible to address such situations,” she added.
Another vendor, Alick Mkwala said the stinking problem is influencing many customers to shun the market and buy commodities in the city’s central business district markets.
He said the situation is causing a big threat of water, and air borne diseases since rains are still falling in the city.
“If you remember very well, it was during this period when we had the cholera epidemic in Nkhata Bay and the situation created fears to almost each and every resident in Mzuzu, because we usually consume food from that lake shore district. We now fear that the bad smell produced from here can, cause similar problems such as cholera,” Mkwaala complained.
While confirming the problem, Spokesperson for Mzuzu City Council Karen Msiska, said the problem was a technical one due to the Council’s waste collection vehicles; he however, said the problem has been rectified.
“Its true that we had that problem in most of the markets, not only Luwinga. It was due to the fact that we were experiencing financial hiccups and were unable to service our trash collection vehicles. However, I am pleased to say that the problem has been addressed,” said Msiska.
He however, blamed the vendors for deserting the designated garbage dumping containers, and throwing trash anywhere, a development that he said resulted in the trash causing the stink.
“The other problem is on the part of the vendors themselves, they just throw the trash anyhow, and that makes it to spread everywhere by rain water and produce the bad smell. So it’s our request to the market users as well, to regard the premises as theirs, and treat them well so that we jointly achieve good sanitation in the city,” he added.