HOW long will government and political leaders going to sing about the need to manage solid waste disposal responsibly?
It must be frustrating to the leaders especially councilors and members of Parliament that their messages seem to be dropping on the slippery backs of ducks.
The memories of the cholera outbreak that ravaged the capital city, Lusaka, and claimed lives are still as fresh as water.
Government had to come up with drastic measures to contain the disease, including the declaration of a partial state of emergency.
During this period the military was unleashed onto the streets to enforce the ban on the sale of ready-to-eat foods and careless dumping of garbage.
The mood in Lusaka was as if it was in a state of war. People were glued to newspapers, radio, stations, television stations and social media for the latest news on the spread of and fight against the disease.
It was therefore with great relief that citizens welcomed the declaration by Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya that the disease had finally been brought under control.
With memories of such a harrowing experience still fresh in their minds it is difficult to understand why the residents of Kanyama Township, which was the worst affected, are again dumping garbage carelessly in the drainages.
We share the frustration and disappointment of the member of Parliament, Elizabeth Phiri.
Ms Phiri has warned residents who are dumping garbage anyhow especially in drainage systems that they face stern punitive action.
Ms Phiri said the law would not be soft on any person found dumping garbage in the drainages regardless of their status in society.
She said in an interview with the Sun that such habits should be avoided because they were posing a danger to health especially to children who innocently play around with anything that they come across.
It is sad that the same residents will rush to media houses to condemn the government when cholera or any other waterborne disease breaks out again when it is them who will have caused it through their irresponsible behaviour.
We join Ms Phiri in appealing to the residents to stop dumping garbage in drainages.
Government spent colossal amounts of money to contain the last cholera outbreak and it will be unfortunate if it will again be forced to waste resources through human negligence that could be channeled to other needy areas.
Ms Phiri is right that such irresponsible behaviour had the potential to cause cholera and other water-borne diseases in the constituency.
“We all know that cholera starts from our constituency [Kanyama] and many cases are recorded here because of the way we keep our environment. Let us avoid involving ourselves in such activities and protect our environments and health,” she said.
It is ironical that the same people have been complaining that the Lusaka City Council has not been collecting garbage from their communities.
How can people be dumping solid waste in drainages and expect the local authority to come and collect it?
In the rainy season, the same garbage blocks the drainages causing widespread flooding.
Ms Phiri also reminded the residents of the sprawling residential area that in the recent past they used to complain that Government had not constructed drainage systems in their area.
But now that they have a good drainage network they have turned it into a garbage dumping site.
We once again appeal to the residents: please, stop dumping garbage in drainages. It is for you own good.