50 PEOPLE PER TOILET IN BULAWAYO
A health hazard is looming at Bulawayo’s Burombo Flats as one of the hostels has gone for four weeks with blocked toilets.
The hostels have communal toilets. Residents said an average of 50 people share a toilet after the city council shut down male toilets years ago. Due to congestion, residents said, both toilets and bathing rooms are constantly down due to blockages, and human waste flows into some rooms.
Council’s senior public relations officer, Mrs Nesisa Mpofu, said the council was aware of the situation at the flats and was working towards procuring required materials to solve the problem.
“The City Council of Bulawayo is aware of the chock affecting Burombo Hostels and efforts are being made to procure the required materials to attend to the blockage. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience,” said Mrs Mpofu.
A Chronicle news crew visiting the hostels on Thursday afternoon observed overflowing toilets. On the ground floor only one toilet was almost functional.
Occupants said they have to use a broom stick to force down solid waste. The other two are blocked and overflowing.
The dire situation resulted in occupants scrambling to give their comments to the news crew saying maybe their problem might be noted and looked into.
They said the toilets and bathrooms in the hostels were a disaster but because of poverty they were forced to stay there.
The occupants said two years ago, the city council instructed men to stop using the male latrines as they had broken down because they were old.
“Council ordered us to share toilets with females but because of congestion and worn out pipes they never function properly for more than three months without blocking or breaking down. It is sad to note that our plight is being ignored and we are forced to live like animals in a place which is a health scare.
“The worst part is that some occupants who tend to ignore the fact that the toilets will be blocked, and they continue to use them when not noticed, especially at night. Sometimes the mess flows towards nearby rooms forcing the occupants to clean the mess without protective clothing,” said one hostel manager.
Another occupant only identified as Moyo said sharing toilets and bathrooms with people from other hostels and those of the opposite sex was difficult as there was also a risk of rape for children and women.
Environmental Management Agency (EMA) provincial manager Mr Decent Ndlovu yesterday toured the hostels and expressed shock.
He said he was engaging BCC and the issue needed to be urgently addressed.
“This is a serious health hazard which we can’t watch and ignore, hence I will engage other involved stakeholders and we find ways to solve the sewer system issue affecting the hostels. I will also inquire from council what exactly is needed to resolve the problem permanently,” said Mr Ndlovu.