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Residents fear malaria outbreak due to burst sewer pipes

Residents in some parts of Bulawayo fear there maybe an outbreak of malaria, as a result of burst sewer pipes that have stayed for months without being attended to.

There are quite a number of sewer hotspots in the city, which are left exposed and residents say these could be breeding spaces for malaria mosquitoes.

In interviews with CITE, residents urged the city council to mend the burst pipes and attend to hotspots in time.

Thando Nyoni from Nkulumane said since the summer season was known as a host for malaria, authorities should act fast in prevention.

“If you talk a walk around the suburb, you will come across several burst sewers and these have become breeding places for mosquitoes as some pipes have gone for months without being treated,” she said.

Nyoni urged the local authority to clear sewer effluent and treat the hotspots effectively with chemicals in order to kill the mosquitoes.

Another resident from Mzilikazi Suburb, Sipho Ndlovu concurred that residents had witnessed burst sewers flowing for days without any action from council.

“Some of the sewers flow next to our houses, and even if we may choose to spray mosquito repellents, there won’t be much effect,” Ndlovu said.

When contacted for comment, Assistant Director for Environmental Health in the Bulawayo City Council, Charles Malaba assured residents that the authority was working overtime to address the sewer hotspots.

He also added that an outbreak of malaria was unlikely, as the female anopheles mosquito did not breed in dirty water.

“It is true that overflowing sewers provide breeding environment for mosquitos, however malaria spreading mosquitos, which is a female anopheles mosquito does not breed in dirty water such as sewer hence the chance of malaria outbreak is slim.

“All malaria cases recorded in clinics are investigated, of which they would be imported from other provinces. The type of mosquito found in Bulawayo is a Culex mosquito, which is not known to transmit malaria. Although the Culex breeds in sewer, it is only known as a nuisance mosquito,” said the environmentalist.

He noted the local authority also had a pest control section that deals with controlling nuisance mosquitoes.

“The pest control department is in charge of spraying water streams and other open water bodies where larvicide may exist. We also conduct indoor residual spraying of houses, which is done through request by individuals for a fee to council,” said Malaba.

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