BCC urged to address sanitation, drainage, and landfill woes in Cowdray Park

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has been implored to address pressing environmental concerns in Cowdray Park, the city’s largest suburb with over 33 000 households.

Residents raised these issues during a recent council stakeholders’ meeting focused on developing a Local Environmental Action Plan (LEAP) for 2023-2027.

A resident highlighted poorly constructed areas lacking proper sewage systems, resulting in frequent overflows and potential health hazards.

“Cowdray Park needs serious attention,” the resident emphasised. “Sewerage systems in some areas malfunction repeatedly, causing constant sewage flows. The council must acknowledge these environmental hazards when drafting the LEAP.”

Concerns were also raised regarding the proximity of the Richmond Landfill (Ngozi Mine) to the suburb. Residents pointed out that the landfill predates the development of Cowdray Park and now poses health risks due to constant burning and air pollution.

Another participant stressed the need to review the suburb’s master plan, focusing on improving drainage systems and addressing chronic sewer blockages.

“Heavy rains often leave pedestrians stranded due to poor drainage,” she noted. “How often is drainage maintenance performed? Additionally, we face persistent sewer blockages. Bulawayo’s population is rapidly growing. Upgrading existing infrastructure is crucial to avoid the very issues we’re raising.”

The participant further advocated establishing decentralised services within Cowdray Park to reduce unnecessary travel to the city centre.

“Decentralised services like banks, healthcare facilities, and malls would benefit Cowdray Park residents,” she explained. “Reduced travel would lead to lower carbon emissions from vehicles. These are some key considerations for the LEAP document.”

BCC Town Clerk, Christopher Dube, acknowledged the residents’ concerns and recommendations. He clarified that some issues were already being addressed, while others would be incorporated into the LEAP.

“We aim to gather recommendations that will strengthen our environmental efforts,” Dube said. “We value your contributions and suggestions, which will be integrated into the document.”

Regarding Cowdray Park, Dube admitted the challenges and referred to it as the city’s “biggest slum” (informal settlement). He explained that a well-defined development plan existed, but changes in fiscal policies hampered its execution.

“Residents shouldn’t have been settled without proper infrastructure like water, sewage, and roads,” Dube admitted. “Efforts are underway to rectify these shortcomings.”

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