Decommission Pomona dumpsite, army says

HARARE - The army has urged Harare City Council (HCC) to properly dispose refuse at Pomona landfill or decommission the site.

In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, lieutenant colonel Tafirei Masuma from Pomona Barracks said the landfill poses a health risk to residents close by due to flies and odour.

A fortnight ago, a fire broke out at the landfill and only died down after the recent rains.

Joint operations between HCC, the army and the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) had failed to stop the fire.

Masuma said since the fire has been doused, it was now up to council to ensure that a strict regime is followed in terms of garbage disposal.

“My commander-in-chief told me that if council does not adhere to what they promised, one of us has to move. Right now, we hope that they stick to their word of ensuring that we do not have an infestation of vermin in the area,” he said.

HCC director of works Phillip Pfukwa said Pomona will not be decommissioned as it still had 15 more years of service.

With proper equipment, the city could maximise the dumpsite while also converting waste to energy, Pfukwa said.

“We are not ready to move out of Pomona as a new site will take no less than a year to establish. We are recommending the proper management of Pomona, rendering it safe to those nearby and it involves compacting waste with gravel or soil,” he said.

The engineer said in terms of recycling, the city works closely with “scavengers” who take everything that is recoverable and recycles. 
In 2012, Ema advised the city to decommission the landfill and seek an alternative site but council continued using it. Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said the site that had been identified in Mount Hampden was turned down because it was too close to Charles Prince Airport.

Ema spokesperson Steady Kangata said with Harare’s growing population, the city needs at least two dumpsites.

Kangata said ideally, not all waste should be disposed at dumpsites, as some materials are recyclable. He said the current waste disposal method being used is very costly because it involves generations of waste, transportation and disposal — all without recycling.

“There needs one site as a landfill and another for hazardous substances. At the moment, hazardous waste such as batteries are all dumped at Pomona despite them requiring to be separated. Only a small percentage of non-recyclable material is supposed to come to the landfill,” Kangata said.

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