Vendors at Phalombe market have threatened to boycott paying market fees if current unhygienic conditions at the market are not addressed by the district’s council.
A visit to the market by Malawi24 observed that there were a lot of uncollected litter in many places and there is no bin which people can use in dumping the wastes.
It was also noted that the council is dumping waste in a certain part of the market which is near retail shops and people’s houses.
The market which has no any other water source such as a tap or a borehole accommodates close to 200 people on non-market days and over 1000 during market days of which everyone pays a market fee of Mk100 per day.
One of the committee members of the market’s committee, Mabvuto Matope, said in an interview that they have been telling the council about the unhygienic state of the market but nothing is being done.
“We have been telling them about this but they seem not caring despite that we pay market fees daily,” he said.
Emily Kaleso who conducts her tomato business in the market said council’s ground labourers stopped cleaning the market long time ago and businesspeople have been hiring some mentally challenged men to help in clean the market.
“The situation so far is worrisome; the council people clean the market whenever they wish,” Kaleso said.
James Chiyang’ana whose house is near the place where the council dumps the wastes wondered if the council officials ever think of the peoples’ lives.
“Look at my house, it has bordered with the dumping site, I don’t feel safe and the dumpsite is a risk to my family’s health, they should remove these as soon as possible,” said Chiyang’ana.
When contacted to comment on what the council is doing in mitigating this problem, Acting Environmental Desk Officer for Phalombe district council, Fred Mphalo, refused to say anything.
“Can’t you see that I have a lot of work to do? I won’t comment on that matter, go!” Mphalo told reporters who wanted to seek clarification on what his office is doing on the matter.
Malawi24 understands that for the 2017/2018 fiscal year, the district council was given about Mk4.3 million for water and sanitation while Local Development Fund (LDF) allocated Mk800,000 for the same.
The situation at the market has led to questions on how the council uses the money