HARARE has only six refuse trucks operating in the capital city’s 46 wards, in a revelation that has put into perspective the current waste management crisis which is seeing most suburbs going for periods of up to more than a month without garbage collection.
The revelation was made last week on a Ward 41 residents’ group when residents had sought information about refuse collection from council officials.
The inquiries from residents followed a notice sent out by a senior council official about when they should expect the waste collectors to be in their area.
“Areas that were left out in terms of refuse collection last week are expected to be cleared on Sunday. Our main hiccup is diesel.
We hope to meet this by the said day,” said Marlborough district officer Mrs Jane Gambizah.
One resident asked her how much diesel the ward required monthly to ensure regular collection of garbage in the ward and she promised to find out from the relevant department.
Other residents requested that they be alerted about the refuse collection schedule in advance so that they know when the refuse truck will visit their areas.
But Mrs Gambizah informed them that at the moment the waste collectors were not following a programmed schedule because council was left with about six refuse compactors to cover the whole of Harare.
She said the municipality was now conducting refuse blitz where it deploys all the six refuse trucks in one district or ward to collect from all the households.
“At the moment, I don’t have a schedule which we are following. Our refuse trucks are so few, I think in Greater Harare we have six or so. So we have introduced refuse blitz where they cover each district.
If they say Friday we are going to Marlborough, all six trucks go to Marlborough to collect.
If there are areas that are left out on the dedicated day for Marlborough, we then request them to return on another day to collect,” she said.
Residents commended her for telling the truth about the refuse collection situation in Harare.
“Yaa apa mataura chokwadi chakazara dai vakuru vekanzuru vaitaura chokwadi chamataura apa I think zvinhu zvaifamba mushe, six trucks out of 49 wards hazvina kumira mushe kuwaste managerment.
Six trucks hadzikwanisi kupedza mawards ese pamwedzi zvichireva kuti ward inogona kutoita mwedzi isina kutakurwa apa resident inenge yakabhadhara marates ayo , izvichireva kuti council ikutsotsa vanhu big time (You have said the truth as it is, if only council executives told the truth as you have said, I think things would be better.
Six trucks for 46 wards shows there is a crisis in the waste management department. The six trucks cannot cover all the wards in a month, which means a ward can go for a month without having refuse collection yet residents are paying rates. This means council is shortchanging residents in a big way,” said a resident. In August Parliament was not happy with the explanations given by council officials over its failure to take delivery of refuse collection equipment from a supplier.