LOCAL government minister Vincent Mwale has warned citizens that they risk being jailed for burying or burning waste at night once the solid management legislation is in place. Commissioning the Choma Fire Station block on Saturday, Mwale said he would in the next three weeks present the Solid Waste Management bill to parliament for enactment.
“Once this bill is enacted you will be jailed for digging, burying and burning waste at night [thereby] polluting the environment when people are sleeping. Everyone will be paying for the service provided by the council and I know you are already paying something for the services but just a little payment will be required again for the company that will now be dealing with your waste because we want things to be done in a proper way by ensuring that everyone is responsible for the waste they generate by paying for it,” Mwale said.
He said the bill would stop citizens from dealing with their own waste such as burning, digging, or burying to avoid contaminating drinking water. Mwale said there would be a company to deal with waste.
“Obviously people will have to pay a charge for the service because not everyone will be allowed to carry such an activity,” he said.
Mwale also cautioned vendors countrywide, especially in Lusaka, that had returned on the streets that it was an offence to conduct business in undesignated places. He directed councils to apply punitive measures against individuals found abrogating the law. Mwale further threatened markets in Lusaka with closure if found operating in unsanitary conditions.
He said there was no need to wait for people to die from preventable diseases like cholera to take decision. Mwale ordered the demolition of pit latrines in Choma to prevent the contamination of underground water. He said he was disappointed that despite the availability of sewer system, people were still allowed to use pit latrines thereby posing a danger to their health.
“I’m giving you an order as Choma Municipal Council to demolish the pit latrines in Shampande residential area because the sewer lines are there and we are only going to allow the use of pit latrines in places where they don’t have sewer lines. However, even them soon they will have sewer system put in place,” Mwale said.
He said the government did not want loss of lives due to cholera hence the measures being put in place. Mwale urged councils to consider allocating land, as they plan for new settlements, for recreation facilities such as play parks for children and other relaxation places “for chilling and exercising so as to enable people remain healthy.”