NOEL IYOMBWA writes
THE number of households that have complained over air pollution coming from Lusaka’s Chipata Level 1 hospital incinerator has risen to 18.
The families are expected to meet with a Ministry of Health official this week to resolve the matter.
Affected families have appealed to government through the ministry of Health to compensate them so that they could settle elsewhere as the smoke from the incinerator has become intolerable.
A source has told the Sun newspaper there is a directive from the ministry of Health to the medical superintendent at the clinic to meet the eighteen families last week and that a representative for the families met authorities at Chipata clinic who advised them to return next week.
Last week the Sun revealed that an incinerator in Lusaka’s Chipata compound had caused conflict between hospital administrators and the nearest neighbour who has complained of foul smells and smoke affecting his family.
Mr Kennedy Makukula has lived with the smell for five years and he has had enough. He wants the hospital to move the incinerator or buy his house.
For Mr Makukula and his family, billowing smoke from the incinerator signals closing of windows and if there is any food left uncovered, it is quickly moved and stored properly.
He describes the smell as choking and he is not sure what the hospital is burning each time smoke starts coming out, but suspects it may include human parts and medicines and other related supplies.
He has written complaints to the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) and the Ministry of Health through the Lusaka District Health Office.
Last year, he was invited to a stakeholders’ meeting at the hospital to discuss the issue of emissions from the incinerator where it was allegedly agreed that he would be compensated.
This however, has not happened and Mr Makukula is losing patience because his health and that of his family, is at risk.
An incinerator and storage room at Chipata clinic were built three meters away from his house.
He said his house was built in the 1970s before the clinic which was built in the 1980s and after that an incinerator was added later in 2014 just few meters away from his house.
Mr Makukula disclosed that the ministry of Health agreed to buy the land so that he shifts.
He claims that the smells are killing his family and demanded that the hospital stops using the incinerator until the issue is solved.
He said he followed the right procedure by writing a complaint to the ministry of Health and the Zambia Environmental management agency (ZEMA) but nothing tangle able has come out.
“We are dying slowly with my family due to this health hazard and air pollution from the incinerator which is three meters away from the house as well as the storage room where they keep placentas just after the hospital mortuary. The smoke, smell and flies that come from the incinerator are bad and we don’t breathe well,” he complained.
Ministry of Health spokesperson contacted promised to follow up the matter and get back to the Sun.