Careless waste disposal in Ndirande of great concern on cholera outbreak

There is great concern that rampant careless disposal of waste can amplify the current cholera outbreak in Ndirande as the rainy season is picking up.
Residents of Malabada Constituency in Ndirande are disposing their household waste anyhow, while markets garbage keep piling up due to failure by the Blantyre City Council to collect the waste.
When contacted, the City Council’s Director of Health, Dr. Kanjunjunju said they are failing to fulfill this mandate due to scarcity of fuel for their  waste disposal vehicles to reach their dumpsite.
“Our vehicles were unable to reach some places for garbage disposal,” he said, while acknowledging that they were aware of the issue of waste disposal carelessness in Malabada.
Kanjunjunju also said they are equally concerned of the increase of cholera cases and urged people not to resort to openly dispose at any place.
When reached out that Blantyre City Council was alerted of this careless waste disposal last month but the situation hasn’t changed, Member of Parliament for Blantyre Malabada Constiuency, Ismail Rizzq Mkumba said it is the responsibility of the Council and “they are supposed to do their duty seamlessly without anyone having to chase them”.
“Cholera is a great concern and again it is the Council’s legal duty to act proactively without anyone having to remind them.”
Cholera cases is indeed on the rise as on November 2, Blantyre alone registered 656 cases accompanied by 26 deaths while on Tuesday, November 15 the figure was at 669 with 26 deaths.
Turning waste into organic fertilizer

Nationally, reported cases of cholera, as reported by the Ministry of Health, a total of 110 new cases were recorded on November 2 accompanied by two related deaths with 198 being admitted in treatment units.

Come Tuesday, November 13, there were 113 new cases recorded accompanied by four deaths with 169 admitted.
Since the onset of the outbreak in March in Machinga District, the cumulative confirmed cases is at 8,374; 252 deaths with all 29 districts affected while 7,953 people have since recovered from the deadly disease.
 On Thursday — during a handover ceremony of assorted medical supplies by Action for Progress, an organization under Church of Christ — Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda is pleading with the church and the clergy to help in the fight against the cholera outbreak.
“The cholera cases are escalating with an increasing number of people being admitted and many more dying,” Chiponda is quoted as saying on the Ministry’s Facebook page.
“Let the church come in by spreading hygiene and sanitization messages during their sermons. Many people in the districts are dying from cholera and it’s sad because these deaths are preventable if people can follow hygienic measures.”
Wilson Tembo, executive director for Action for Progress said their organization felt compelled to help the Ministry and pledged “to continue to mobilize resources to buy more supplies — especially cholera kits as asked by the Minister of Health”.
The assorted medical supplies, worth K30 million, will go to Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe as well as to nine district hospitals in the Central Region.
Meanwhile, concerned with the worrisome increase of careless waste disposal, a group of concerned youths is inculcating waste management in the area’s communities to convert the waste into compost fertilizer.
And it’s just a passion of concern of 14-plus volunteers, as some of them are employed while others are in school — doing all this in their free time and in shifts.
Trending as Community Impact Group, its director Gift Landani said they are encouraging Ndirande community members and Malawians in general to take part in agroforestry and shifting their mindset from the use of inorganic fertilizer and opt for compost manure.
In an interview on Tuesday at their operation camp on Ndirande Mountain, Landani said they want to combine waste management and green initiative by planting trees on the mountain — once famous for a rich cover of trees but now completely laid bare.
They are motivating the communities to store their household waste products and hand them over to the Impact Group, which they are recycling into compost manure — an organic fertilizer making which they trained to produce by waste management organisation, Crown Ministry.
On top of producing the compost fertilizer, the group is also raising tree seedlings which they want to encourage people to plant on Ndirande Mountain that have been wantonly cut down by the community members.
All this initiative is purely voluntary working as the group members contribute funds from their pockets every month to financially sustain the project.
After their training by the waste advisors, Crown Ministry, they were provided with starter pack materials such as a wheelbarrow, industrial gloves, watering can and gumboots, but they are still lacking in finances to procure protective materials such as face masks, work suits, gloves, watering cans and work suits.
The funds they raise from group contributions cater for transportation of trash from the households and marketplace but it is not sustainable since just a few of them are employed and the rest are school students.
“It is our wish to increase collection of more trash but finances hinder our appetite in waste management,” Landani said.
Established in 2021 under the theme ‘Cleaning and Greening Initiative’, the group appeals for support, both financial, equipment and costs of collection of waste.
Landani said they approached stakeholders, and still do, but the response has been lukewarm apart from the positive minds of households who are sorting out their waste.
“But that does not discourage us,” Landani emphasized. “We are eyeing for a better Ndirande environment and we know sooner or later community members will identify with us to forge forward.”
When made aware, MP Mkumba said he was not officially approached of the noble work that the group is carrying out while encouraging the youths to approach the Council to become aware of all the programs the government has for such initiatives.
“After that they can get me involved,” he said. “We need people to become aware of the fact that the Council belongs to the people and they must be assisted directly.”
He added that “funding for such business initiatives should be obtained from National Economic Empowerment Fund (NEEF) as MPs passed a Bill authorising the amount of K90 billion to benefit the youth, women and other businesspersons”.—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira, Nyasa Times

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