POOR and blocked drainage system is causing artificial floods and pools of water in Harare’s streets, exposing residents to waterborne diseases and road accidents.
BY NQOBILE NKIWANE – The Standard
Residents and motorists who spoke to The Standard last week expressed concern over the blocked drainage system and called on the city fathers to act swiftly before an outbreak of disease.
They said poor drainage system damaged vehicles and gave rise to congestion and accidents along the city’s roads as motorists try to avoid bad patches.
One motorist said it was becoming extremely difficult to drive around the city’s roads, especially after heavy rains as potholes would be covered by water.
“The rainwater fills-up potholes on the roads and one cannot tell how deep a pothole is,” said the motorist. “This has caused serious damage to our cars.”
Simbarashe Nyakatsapa, a kombi driver, urged the city fathers to routinely collect rubbish that causes the blockage of storm drains.
“The problem is that the responsible authorities do not collect litter on time, which in turn blocks water drains,” said Nyakatsapa.
“Residents must use bins and designated rubbish dumpsites in order to minimise on rubbish that finds its way into drains. If that problem is not solved, drainage channels will continue to be blocked.”
The residents urged the city council to clear the drains to effectively solve the problem of clogging.
Besides the Harare’s central business district, other areas seriously affected by poor or blocked drainage system include Mbare, Highfield, Budiriro, Kambuzuma and Warren Park.
“These puddles can be a source of diseases such as cholera and a breeding ground for malaria-causing mosquitoes. Children like playing in such waters and risk getting infected,” said a Warren Park vendor, Lerato Mpofu.
Harare Residents’ Trust director, Precious Shumba said the trust had communicated its concerns and recommendation to the city authorities, but the response has not been positive.
He said the trust did not expect any major changes to the drainage problem as the council always allocated little resources towards road rehabilitation.
While blaming the Harare City Council for poor prioritisation and planning, Shumba also took a swipe at Zimbabwe National Roads Authority for failing to avail adequate resources for road-related projects.
“The major hindrance is that the central government through Zinara is withholding financial resources which are meant to maintain and expand road infrastructure, including drainage clearing,” said Shumba.
He said motorists were getting a raw deal yet they contributed significantly to Zinara through vehicle registration fees.
Harare City Council deputy mayor, Thomas Muzuva said he was hopeful that council would solve the problem of artificial floods.
“For all the reported places, work is in progress as has been witnessed in some parts of the city. I am sure the problem will be put right,” he said.
Muzuva said some of the storm drains were not only blocked by litter but by bricks and soil resulting from the 2005 clean-up campaign dubbed Murambatsvina.
He urged residents to avoid throwing litter and other forms of rubbish in drainage systems.