Development Watch, by Cuthbert Mashoko.

Poor refuse collection and wanton dumping of garbage everywhere at Rutenga Growth Point has not only set the sprawling urban settlement’s ticking health time bomb on, but pose an alarming anthropological environmental degradation disaster that needs urgent attention.

The possibility of an outbreak of water-borne diseases cannot be ruled out, given the poor refuse collection and hysterical garbage disposal in the fast growing residential areas around the Growth Point.

It is disturbing to note that the ill-health practices are notable at a time when good hygienic practices are critical to combat the spread of the lethal Covid-19 virus.

Illegal dumping sites are now common feature in the residential suburbs around Rutenga and have become an eyesore and detrimental to development.

The common notable illegal dumping situates are along Busy Bee Pre School, N.Richards road and the one close to Rutenga Primary School.

Dumping at these sites is usually done in the early hours and during the night.

This is done to try and avoid authorities and possible prosecution.

Of-late these dumping sites have also become favourite playing areas for children that scavenge for toys, a practice which put them at risk of contracting diseases like Cholera, Typhoid and diarhorrea to mention a few.

A walk along pathways in the residential area and outskirts of the Growth Point is a nightmare to say the least. Used diapers and human waste strewn everywhere catches the eye whether one likes it or not.

Human waste and used diapers are an environmental nuisance as they have negative implication to the eco-system and as well pollution to the environment.

It is this high level of illegal dumping and ignorance amongst the residents that is worrisome .

The sooner the illegal dumping habit by residents is addressed, the better it is for the area which is strategically positioned along the Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway.

Civic education and awareness campaigns keeping residents appraised on the good of having a clean environment is fundamental if hopes of a hygienic Rutenga are anything to be attained.

This can be effectively achieved through engagement by critical stakeholders including; the local authority, civic society organizations dealing with Health and Environmentalissues as well as confined Residents Associations.

Clean up campaigns have proved to be an effective vehicle for cleaning up the environment as they create a platform to educate residents on refuse management.

Creation of Health Clubs comprising of women, men, youths and People living With Disabilities (PWDs) is another way of dealing with this menace.

Health clubs can assist in carrying out education and awareness on top of carrying out cleaning exercises regularly.

There is also need for the local authority at the Growth Point to encourage residents to have household refuse bins.

Adoption of friendly household refuse disposal methods such  as digging rubbish pits at homesteads can also help residents in terms of managing household waste.

Equally important is for Council to stick to the refuse collection schedule which is known by residents.

Enforcing by-laws remains one of the most effective ways through which local authorities can manage the problem of illegal dumping.

Residents caught dumping on illegal sites should be brought to book. A heavy fine is enough a deterrent measure to illegal dumping culprits.

Lastly the erection of billboards on the common illegal dumping sites, which warn the residents about the dangers of illegal dumping can also play the trick in helping to curb the bad habit.

Cuthbert Mashoko is a Teacher at Rutenga Primary school and a Development Practitioner. He writes in his own capacity.