The City of Harare is piloting a new waste management project known as vermicomposting to move away from the controversial Pomona waste management deal and save the local authority millions of United States dollars.
Government imposed the costly Pomona waste-to-energy deal on the City of Harare without going to tender.
The tender was awarded to Geogenix BV, which is fronted by businessman Delish Nguwaya.
Under the deal, the local authority is supposed to pay US$22 000 per day or an estimated US$1 million a month to Geogenix BV for the next 30 years.
But the council has refused to pay the bill and cancelled the contract.
Harare mayor Jacob Mafume said the waste management project to recycle food waste and wastewater can save the local authority millions of dollars.
“We will not be part of the (Pomona) process which enriches individuals without benefit to the residents,” Mafume said.
“We want our Pomona dumpsite back because it’s a project meant to satisfy or quest the corrupt thirst of a few individuals.
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“Money is going down the drain, chasing a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow is never going to amount to anything except the fleecing of residents’ hard-earned money.”
The pilot project is being undertaken by the local authority in partnership with MSF working with HCC waste management department and Jojatis Bio-Wastewater Management Systems, a private company.
“We hope that it will be a sustainable and more realistic manner in dealing with our biodegradable waste,” Mafume said.
“A huge part of Harare was created haphazardly and, therefore, we need to find biodegradable ways of dealing with waste.”
MSF’s environmental health supervisor Ignitious Takavada said apart from cutting costs to the HCC, the model would also benefit households financially.
“It’s too much to estimate tonnes that can be spared from being ferried by council but if adopted, this project can see reduction of the waste collection related costs such as transport cost,” Takavada said.
“Income can be generated from the processing and selling of the waste.
“The ultimate goal is to bend the curve of acute water borne disease outbreaks through provision of better waste management practices in the community.”
Local Government minister July Moyo has insisted that the Pomona waste management deal cannot be cancelled.
In August, government said it will divert devolution funds meant for the City of Harare towards paying Geogenix BV for the debt accumulated.
This prompted the Combined Harare Residents Association petitioning Parliament protesting the move by the Local Government ministry to dictate how devolution funds for Harare may be used.