The management of Hysacam has launched a cleaning campaign dubbed “Operation Keep Bamenda Clean”, calling on inhabitants of the city to accompany them in securing its cleanliness.
For months now, the people of Bamenda have been struggling to deal with huge piles of dirt abandoned in markets, major junctions and streets. Streams have gradually become dumping sites. In markets, you can find customers and sellers fighting with flies and other rodents for ownership of food items. Buying or selling food items beside these heaps of dirt is increasingly becoming a normal phenomenon in Bamenda.
Those who suffer the most are the petit traders selling perishable goods close to the piles, and have to display them on bags, placed by the road side. Day in – day out, they inhale the bad odor oozing from the mass of dirt. Yaounde Park at the Nkwen market harbored such a sight, causing these business people to lose customers.
“The dirt makes it inconvenient to sell here and it hinders movement as it blocks the road. I am happy Hysacam is here to carry the dirt. We suffer a lot here as sometimes we find it difficult to breathe especially when it is burnt. Those frying puff-puff and others often throw the ashes after they are done and it burns the dirt. Sometimes the mad people do the burning. We have tried to stop them but to no avail. The worse is when it rains; the water from the dirt contaminates our perishable items, so we can’t sell,” said Marie Germaine, a business woman at the Nkwen market.
On Mondays, those selling at the Yaounde Park come together to clean around the mountain of dirt and push it in so as to prevent it from spreading around.
“I thank God Hysacam is here to clear the dirt and hope they will stay. It is not healthy for us to live in such an environment. When I go home, I drink a lot of water and eat oily foods for prevention. We are moving closer to the festive period so cleaning this dirt will give us enough space to display our goods and sell in peace,” said Isaac Ngwa, a petit trader.
On the 14th of July, resolutions were arrived at, during a meeting between Hysacam and the Bamenda city council to use the state land at new road Mendakwe as a dump site and for the council to provide access to the dumpsite at Mbelewa. Unfortunately none was realized, leaving the city in the same state as it was before.
“2019 has not been a good year for us. We have halted work three times and restarted due to some challenges. The resolutions made in July could not be exploited because of the situation in Bamenda and issues with land titles. In August, the government delegate signed a municipal order indicating that we could use the swamps of Mulang to dump but unfortunately, we could not use it because there was an issue of ownership.
With the prevailing situation and cholera in the South West region, we cannot let the people stay in such an atmosphere. With the dry season, heaps of dirt will attract more flies and this is not good for the population. We hope that 2020 is a better year so we can keep working in Bamenda,” said Zaumu Fietso Joseph , director of Hysacam Bamenda.
So far, Hysacam has cleared 1000 tons of dirt from two markets (Nkwen and Food markets). In the days ahead, more work will be done to keep Bamenda clean.
By Maikem Emmanuela Manzie