Katima landfill relocation to cost millions

KATIMA MULILO: Plans to relocate the only dumpsite at Katima Mulilo to another site is likely to cost more than N.dollars 2.3 million if the town council budget for 2015/2016 approves it.

On Monday, council Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Charles Nawa told Nampa the council is looking at its budget to see how it can relocate the dumpsite to another piece of land measuring more than 10 hectares.

“The relocation is on the cards but we are still looking into our budget as moving the dump site will cost millions of dollars. We are well aware of the continued complaints to relocate it too,” Nawa said.

Nawa said before the dumpsite is relocated the current site needs to be properly rehabilitated, an exercise which is also costly.

The calls for the dump site to be relocated follow numerous written complaints and a handful of demonstrations by students of the University of Namibia (UNAM)’s Katima Mulilo Campus and the Zambezi Vocational College.

The two tertiary institutions are in close proximity to the dumpsite, which is located north-west of Katima Mulilo. Industrial effluent and agricultural and medical waste like used syringes with needles are disposed of at the site.

The students have complained that the dumpsite is a major health hazard as it allegedly spreads respiratory diseases due to the manner in which waste is discarded and burnt. They also complain about the flies it attracts and says the burning of waste causes thick black smoke to flow into lecture rooms and offices.

UNAM student representative council (SRC) president Hosticks Ndozi claimed that the dumpsite has been linked to causing ailments such as chronic bronchitis and tuberculosis, due to the smoke emitted when waste is burned.

“On days when waste management burns the materials discarded at the site, the thick smoke is unbearable for students busy with their lectures or studies in their dorms. It leaves one coughing and even smelling as if they were present at the dumpsite when the waste was being burnt,” he said.

Ndozi, who welcomed the plans to relocate the dumpsite, called on council to fence off the new premises and ensure that waste is categorised and disposed of safely at the new site.

“The council should also employ enough security officers to chase off scavengers, and ensure that waste disposed at the new site, especially by private individuals, is done so properly so it does not pose a health hazard,” he said.