Business Climate Community Development Health

Prison officers red flag Karoi toxic smoke

Smoke from a dumpsite near the prison in Karoi

By Nhau Mangirazi

KAROI – Some Karoi officials from Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services have raised their concerns over toxic smoke from a nearby dumpsite that is choking Ward 5 residents.

It is affecting the officers and inmates. Air pollution is a health hazard concern according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Speaking in an interview at the weekend, some officers said the toxic smoke is choking them day and night without any possibility of a solution in near future.

Officers said inmates have not been spared either by the smoke that has gone on over several years.

“The toxic waste smoke is a health hazard for our children. We are deeply concerned that responsible authorities are failing to get a permanent solution to the crisis,” said an official speaking on condition that he is not named.

Another female officer added that the smoke is affecting their well-being.

“As we speak, resident officials and inmates are at risk from the dumpsite smoke. It is painful that inmates are at risk of being affected by diseases including asthma and tuberculosis among other illnesses. We appeal to responsible authorities to ensure that the smoke is put off regularly, ” she added.

Some of the officials that do use the prison residence said they feel the pinch when on duty.

“The smoke is worse during night duty and it has been going on for several years,” said an official who resides in Chiedza high-density suburb.

The officers called on Karoi Town Council and Environment Management Agency (EMA) to address the smoke crisis through tangible solicitors.

“We call upon council and EMA to act as a matter of urgency. We are facing a real harmful health problem,” added the official.

EMA officials are yet to visit the site following a public outcry raised last week. Ward 5 residents made a passionate appeal to the responsible authorities to ensure that the smoke is put off regularly.

Victor Chaparira expressed public health safety concerns in the farming town’s high-density area of Chikangwe.

“We are calling upon responsible authorities to ensure that our health and safety are considered as a basic human rights matter,” Chaparira said.

“We are suffering and few can afford medical checks over the infections caused by the smoke.

Another resident, Miller Dube, said: “The only permanent solution lies in removing the dumpsite near residential areas for our own safety.”

The toxic waste smoke comes from the dumpsite created by the council in 1996 that allocated residential infill houses less than 300 meters from the dumpsite, thereby fuelling a health hazard.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende