Ngozi mine squatters struggle to make a living

Informal recycling assistants at Richmond Sanitary Landfill (Ngozi Mine) say they are being shortchanged by middlemen who buy recyclable material from them for resale in Harare.

Ngozi mine is the city’s largest dumping site where the informal recycling assistants scavenge for recyclable material which they sell to recycling companies in Harare.

The end product is supplied to different manufacturers who use it to make denim clothing, carpets, tennis balls and other stuff that finds its way back to the markets as new products.

The traders complained local buyers were buying their wares at a low price and then resell at a profit.

“We sell our plastics to local buyers at 15 cents per kilogramme. These buyers will then go and resell in Harare.

“If there is a company which we can sell to directly here in Bulawayo, it would be better,” said Gamelihle Mpofu an informal recycling assistant from Cowdray Park.

Another assistant who requested anonymity said a Chinese company in Harare buys 1 000kilogrames of plastic for $1000.

‘If we’re selling to a local company, we won’t be incurring transport costs hence getting more from our business. We have families to fend for,” she said.

The assistant also lobbied for protective clothing as their work exposes them to diseases.

“We scavenge on our pain clothes without any gloves, masks or gumboots. We could get a well-wisher who could supply us with protective clothing that would make our jobs easier.

“We work with dirt meaning we can get sick anytime since we are not protected,” said Mpofu

Richmond Sanitary landfill was commissioned in 1994 and is one of three landfills in the country.

Most informal recycling assistants have permanently settled at the landfill.

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