Located in the centre of Mzuzu, the area around Chibavi is open-air gutters, household rubbishes thrown here and there and its decrepit lodgings are the most polluted location.
It looks like a shanty town and its landscape shows a picture of poverty.
Small houses, crumble walls and stagnant wastewater can be found there. In addition a gutter which winds throughout the neighborhoods and clogged up at different parts. And the families living there fear nothing but the rainy season.
‘’This situation lasts for years. Here at Chibavi, our neighborhoods become unlivable, utterly unrecognizable after the rain.
Very quickly our houses are flooded’’ grumbled a local resident. Wiseman Mziya, a retired civil servant, with his remarkable dimension and slightly broken glasses explained: ‘’garbage and household rubbish unfortunately dumped in the space and after being carted by the wind clog up gutters and cause their overflows after a lesser rain’’.
According to the former public servant, his fellows of the neighborhood do not care about ecological respect. ‘’ They throw garbage directly into the ditches’’ he released before adding that this practice, unfortunately, is becoming the norm.
‘’The pollution threat is increasing in scale’’, acknowledged Gabito Mwangulu, the councilor in charge for Chibavi west. ‘’The population must be aware of the realities.’’ He advised.
Deflation food security
At the expense of food security, a sweet potatoes seller was installed in front of a shop in the vicinity of an open-air gutter. A rubbish dump was not far from her installation. The state of decomposition of some garbage present there was sticking out.
Though this phenomenon was far from being harmless, the sweet potatoes seller and her customers did not seem to be at any level disturbed despite the smell of that rubbish which was coming strongly and mingling with one of the gutters. Maybe they are accustomed to that smell.
This opinion is corroborated by Patrick Shaba, a local resident who noticed that:’’ this location has not so much changed; it has always been like this’’. ‘’See what this woman is going to do for instance’’, he said, pointing out at some meters a woman who went out from a house. Visibly, she seemed to wear as cloth a Zebra cloth tied around her waist. She walked forward holding a yellow can and stopped in the middle of the road.
Then the young buxom woman firstly stared at the passers-by and in the same vain she spread the water of the can on the ground. ‘’ Do you see? It is the water of the bathroom that she has just spilt’’ confided Patrick who finished his sentence in a shrug of shoulders. He smoked the last stroke of his cigarette, threw its butt to the ground and started his two-wheeled vehicle without further ado.
The smoke of his motor mingled with the smell of the area; the smell coming from the sewers, wastewater. Visible arteries are re-covered with household refuses, the ground strewn with plastic bags here and there.
Those bags noxious for the environment accumulate everywhere. These shouts belong to a mobile bred seller who was going for a walk calling out potential purchasers.
The most strident of a group of children answered to her shout and came straight out from a house situated at the roadside. The cohort of children hailed the seller in order to have some Bakers Pride Bread French sticks which they will share together. The lady stopped at their level and wrapped a bred up in a non-biodegradable plastic shopping bag to them. The same plastic bag prohibited by the government four years ago. The sellers who use that plastic bag like her are numerous.
At Chibavi market, non-biodegradable plastic bags are abusively used. They are light, easy to use and very cheap. Because of their lightness, they blow away to everywhere especially where they do not need to. It is in them that are wrapped up bread and other unconsummated foodstuffs before to be put in dustbins and in the worst case straight on the public way.
Plastic bags pollution is a scourge that must be fought against. A plastic bag is an underhanded murderer. It is produced in a second time with petroleum, a non-renewable earth energy that the human being is exhausting. On an average, it serves for something during the time it takes between its distribution in warehouses and its landing in the customer’s dustbin. It is at that time that boredom begins.
Because of what it is made of, that apparently harmless small thing takes between one and four centuries to disintegrate and stifling or empoisoning bodies’ legion in its passing. It is nothing when it is seen in that way but it is difficult to imagine how disastrous the balance sheet
of greenhouse effect gas is!
Under such conditions, the only viable alternative is ‘’sensitization’’. It is the first word used with offhand spontaneity by Patrick while giving his opinion. He confided directly that:’’ in order to eradicate totally plastic bags, we need a legally constituted state followed by a high-level organisation in the society and a strong ecological commitment from the authorities. We do not just need laws relating to the matter but we should also have penalties provided for against offenders.’’
The water bags called ‘’pure water’’ which is everything except pure are the one that can be seen in most of site within Chibavi beside black bags. At the moment local residents are not aware of pollutant and dirty wrappings.
Inadequate effort of the government
‘’ We are confused here at Chibavi in Mzuzu. The city council doesn’t seem to be concerned about our community situation. Everybody talks about it. But they don’t care. Some associations such as Young Voices Mzuzu help us with shovels, forks and boots when there is community-clean operation’’ groaned a mechanic in vernacular.
By his own admission, it is almost five or six years that he was installed in the area. Wearing trousers torn at many sides, with its initial colours corrupted and motor oil-stained, the man with a round face, tousled hairs the man named Joseph Yazenga spat, barked, fulminated against authorities who according to him ‘’don’t do their duty’’.
At the government’s side, the Mzuzu City Assembly health system Director keeper Victor Namakhuwa concedes that ‘’ during decades the public powers didn’t seem to be concerned about the environment protection.
Their priorities were elsewhere.’’ But today ‘’strong measures are taken’’ he declared.
In fact, the Malawi government decreed the end of the commercialization and the use of plastic bags on the 13th January 2012. But its implementation is still slow. For the inhabitants who are accustomed to plastic bags used for many years, ‘’the banishment of the practical materials for use’’ will take a very long time.
This situation reinforces the thesis according to which unsanitary conditions could also be possible due to some persons’ bad behaviours.