Gaborone City Council has failed to adequately dispose of garbage, which continues to pile at residential gates, as inhabitants continue to grapple with the flies and the stench, amid fears of a serious health hazard.
A resident of Block 9 in Gaborone told Mmegi yesterday that when the problem began, garbage was collected once in every two weeks, but this has been extended to at least two months before any garbage collection is done.
"It is stinking so badly, we don't even enjoy our houses anymore. This place is not a happy place to be!" she said. The resident claimed that flies have laid eggs inside her dog's skin. "I realised this when I discovered that there were white worms coming out of my dog's skin," she revealed.
She says that the problem has cost her about P300 worth of injections for the dog. She also said that houses have also turned into a haven for rats, which feed on the rotting garbage.
"I even threatened to expose them in the media and a certain lady at the council begged me not to do that, sanitation is a very important thing, you cannot just decide you are not going to collect garbage from residential places. The world cup is coming and I do not know what is going to happen then," she said.
Since last year, residents have struggled with waste disposal as the council kept on promising that the problem would be attended to. Several attempts to talk to Gaborone City Council proved unfruitful as the town clerk was said to be attending a workshop.
Ironically, the Ministry of Transport and Communication recently issued a press release complaining about garbage that is dumped at bus stops along roads. The ministry stated that it had observed that people use dustbins within the road reserve to dispose of garbage that remain uncollected for weeks at their homes. The release states that according to the public health act, part 8 sub-section 34-38, 'a person shall not dispose in any place anything, which may contribute to the defacement of any place by litter except authorised by law or owner of that place.'
The ministry requested members of the public to desist from this behaviour as it is costly for government and also poses an environmental and health hazard to road users.
"Any person who contravenes this section commits an offence and is liable to a fine of P300 or an imprisonment term not exceeding two months or both," it said. The ministry advised that garbage be left in homes for collection by relevant authorities who use specialised vehicles.
Recently, Frenic, a local waste management company sued Gaborone City Council for more than half a million pula for allegedly failing to pay it for services it was contracted to do. It was not the first time that a claim of that sort was laid against the council. A few years ago, Daisy Loo, another waste management company, made a multi-million Pula claim against the Gaborone City Council for failing to pay it for de-bushing around the Segoditshane River.
Frenic is one of the waste management companies whose contract with the Gaborone City Council expired in December. The council did not renew the contract.