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Court slaps Mzuzu City Council over dumpsite

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The High Court sitting in Mzuzu has ruled that Mzuzu City Council (MCC) should destroy refuse at the old Mchengautuba dumping site and level the area within 12 months from May 1, 2017.

The court has also ruled that the council should fully vacate the place within 18 months from the date.

The ruling comes after some residents under Friends of Mchengautuba Community

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Organisation (Famco) dragged the council to court, arguing the dumping site was putting people’s lives at risk of contracting diseases.

The site is within Mchengautuba Township and it accommodates solid wastes.

The communities argued that the council was supposed to move to the new Nsilo Waste

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Management located at Dunduzu within the city because it was failing to manage the solid refuse at the current site, which was producing liquid waste that flows into people’s compounds.

Though deserted, the old dumpsite produces foul smell and breeds a lot of flies which are vectors of diseases.

In her ruling, Judge Dorothy DeGabriel said the council should fully move to the new site and ensure that the old dumping site is managed so that it no longer puts people’s lives at risk. DeGabriel said the land should now be used in accordance to the council’s plans and no encroachment should be done.

She further condemned the Mchengautuba communities for taking the law in their hands by blocking the council when it wanted to use the site before the new location was opened.

According to the ruling, the council has only two months to level the old site.

But MCC Chief Executive Officer Macloud Kadammanja said it is impossible for the council to manage the place within a period of two months.

He therefore said the council will place adverts in newspapers for possible investors who can develop the land.

“We think if an investor can be found and manage the land, it will do us better. Therefore, we are advertising the land to those who can manage to remove the waste, put good soil and construct structures for both of us to benefit,” Kadammanja said.

But Facom Executive Director Precious Mtambo said the communities will still follow the matter until the council obliges to the ruling.

“We are happy that residents of Mchengautuba will now be protected from the dump site. We believe the council will understand the ruling and follow the recommendations. Failure to do that, we will proceed with contempt of court charges,” Mtambo said.

Some waste management experts recently said dumping sites like Mchengautuba would take up to 20 years to be habitable.

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