By Tafadzwa Muranganwa
Residents living in Harare’s Mt Pleasant suburb have expressed concern over the perennial emissions at Pomona dumpsite after a fire erupted there on Friday.
A former Mt Pleasant Ward 14 councillor and member of Mt. Pleasant Heights Residents Association, Warship Dumba, lashed out at Harare City Council for turning a blind eye to the developing health catastrophe.
“Pomona dumpsite is now a perennial nuisance. Can the City of Harare be trusted with anything? We can’t breathe,” said the former councillor in a Facebook post.
A doctor who lives in the same neighbourhood who requested anonymity says owing to these emissions she now suffers from a headache.
“I have a headache, blocked nostrils. This is a call to action,”she said.
Another resident Takura Chiminya says there is inherent need for the city fathers to consider closing the dumpsite as it has outlived its lifespan.
“I don’t know why the council still clings onto a dumpsite that has been in place over the last three decades and continues to pollute the environment,” fumed Chiminya.
Harare City Epidemiologist Dr Kudzai Masunda confirmed that the emissions can endanger the health and some of the respiratory problems likely to be suffered from residents around the Pomona are similar to those of Covid-19.
“We understand that there is a fire raging at Pomona since Friday so when there is a fire at a dumpsite,we are worried because at dumpsite there are a lot of gaseous chemicals there.
“In terms of respiratory issues that manifest in people that are affected are dry cough, tightness of the chest, itchiness and irritability, redness of the eyes, and if any of the residents exhibit such kind of symptoms they need to visit medical facilities. Since some of the symptoms are similar to Covid-19 then there is also the need to then test for the virus to exclude if its the virus,” said Dr. Masunda .
The outcry by residents around Pomona dumpsite comes barely a few days after the Environmental Management Agency(EMA) instructed cement-manufacturer Lafarge to cease operations until emissions from its plant are meeting permissible levels.