Members of Parliament (MPs) on Friday pressed the government to come out clear on when the Area 38 dumpsite in Lilongwe would be abandoned.
The issue started in the august House after Minister of Health and Population, Atupele Muluzi, presented an update on the cholera situation in the country.
Lilongwe Central MP, Lobin Lowe, said the dumpsite is contributing to the spread of cholera in his constituency, asking the government to hasten the process of abandoning it.
“Lilongwe Central [Constituency] is one of the areas affected by cholera. We are told that the responsibility [of decommissioning the dumpsite] is with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. At the moment, [people in] villages [surrounding the dumpsite] are in danger. How ready is the Ministry of Local Government to abandon the dumpsite?” Lowe asked.
In his response, Muluzi admitted that, since the dumpsite was established in the 1990s, a lot has happened.
“At that time, the land was vacant. But now there is human settlement. Lilongwe City Council is in the process of moving the dumpsite to another site. Different stakeholders are working together on this. The dumpsite will be decommissioned,” Muluzi said.
Apart from the council, one of the stakeholders Muluzi cited as also working on the relocation of the site is the Department of Environmental Affairs.
His explanation, however, did not convince Lilongwe South East MP, Willard Gwengwe, who wanted the minister to be specific on the time-frame attached to the abandonment of the dumpsite.
“You have to be specific on when the dumpsite will be closed. And what is the new location?” Gwengwe asked.
But Muluzi said it was too early to say anything.
“It is not within my limit to indicate the time-frame and the new location. The process is just underway. There will be communication from Lilongwe City Council,” Muluzi said.
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