THE Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) has expressed concern over the failure by some local authorities to invest in environmentally friendly waste and refuse disposal facilities.
The rights lobby said by failing to put up recommended waste disposal facilities, local authorities were violating both environmental rights and citizen rights.
“With 43 local authorities still to be audited, MIHR is concerned by the inability of local authorities to have standard scientific engineering landfill sites and proper standard and adequate refuse management equipment.
“Some of the reasons put forward by the authorities as management responses explaining why they did not have suitable landfill sites and garbage management equipment include lack of funding to establish standard scientific engineering landfill sites, unavailability of land and centralization of land allocations,” said Khumbulani Maphosa, MIHR director in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com.
Maphosa said unsuitable landfills are posing a great danger to environmental management by fuelling land, air and underground water sources pollution through leachates.
“We therefore call on the local authorities to expedite the construction of proper landfill sites and procurement of suitable garbage collection and management vehicles.
“We are also calling for innovative funding mechanisms to finance environmental concerns,” he said.
The MIHR director also suggested that government, through the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, assists local authorities in financing standard landfill sites construction.
“We are also calling for the amendment of the Environment Management Act (Chapter 20:27) and specifically devolve the management of the environmental fund to provincial and district authorities,” said Maphosa.
A recent report by the Auditor General has indicated that most local authorities in the country are struggling with refuse management.
The report cited Masvingo, Mutare, Bindura and Marondera local authorities as some of the urban areas failing to effectively manage their waste.
Masvingo’s Victoria Range landfill sites is reported to be unsuitable as it is too close to the residential location while Mutare City Council is also reported to be operating without an approved dumpsite in compliance with the environmental management legislation. newzimbabwe