Samantha Chigogo:Herald Correspondent
Harare City’s main Pomona refuse dumpsite yesterday caught fire and council, with the assistance of well-wishers was containing a potential environmental and health disaster. Fire outbreaks at the dumpsite have become an annual occurrence.The Environment Management Agency (EMA) is on record urging the city council to come up with a proper landfill site and stop using the Pomona dumpsite that was reportedly illegal. The city’s acting corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme, said the local authority was in control of the situation to avoid fire spreading.
“We have cordoned off the area and we are trying our level best to contain the fire so that it does not continue spreading around,” he said.
“Reports are that the fire broke out at around 2am earlier today and we suspect that the cause of this fire was excessive heat which can easily have ignited the inferno hence our fire brigades are on site and using water and gravel to put out the fire.”
Mr Chideme, however, urged the public to desist from using streets around the Pomona area as it was currently unsafe with heavy smoke affecting visibility.
He said Harare had set tight goals to avoid more fire outbreaks at the dumpsite.
“We have tight measures in place to ensure that such disasters do not happen again and hence we are at an advanced stage on our working plans to establish a landfill, which will be safer and easier to manage,” Mr Chideme said.
“We believe these fires pose a huge health scare to the general public for instance visibility around this area is greatly impaired as well as cases of air pollution hence we are doing our best to ensure the matter is quickly contained.”
Recently, Harare has been seeking partners to invest in the establishment of a waste energy plant at Pomona landfill as the city looks forward to generate energy through extraction of biogas.
The initiative is aimed at reducing pollution as the dumpsite has been subject to wild fires that annually is a threat to public health and wildlife.