CHIKWAWA: Vendors plying various businesses inside Chikwawa Boma Market have complained over poor hygiene conditions that have rocked the market, a situation believed to have also been promoted by shortage of water and inadequate toilets.
Chairman for the vendors at the market, Elliot Ngozo, said in an interview with the Malawi News Agency (MANA) on Friday that the hygiene conditions were worse within the market to the extent that the whole market vendors were using single toilet and there was no running water.
”As you can see, the market has only a single toilet, but the market is occupied by many vendors. So how does the council expect us to work in such an environment?” questioned Ngozo.
Ngozo added that the market had no water points and the vendors were using unsafe water for drinking and preparing their commodities in readiness for sale to customers.
”It’s almost over a year since the water board disconnected water at the market due to unpaid water bills by the council. We tried to talk with the council but up to now no response has come to us so far, Ngozo added.
The market chairman expressed worry that both vendors and buyers were at a risk of contracting water borne diseases due to poor sanitation inside the market.
One of the vendors, Mwayiwawo Kapata, echoed Ngozo’s remarks saying sanitation was really a heavy blow inside the market.
”We are operating in a pathetic environment due to poor toilets and unavailability of water. Several of our fellow friends doing business inside the market have suffered from waterborne related diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea,” Kapata said.
She therefore, advised the district council to look into the matter and help the vendors by constructing more toilets in order to avoid cases of cholera in the district.
Chikwawa District Council, Market Supervisor, Reuben Chonzi agreed that indeed Chikwawa Boma market faced sanitation challenges.
”We have over One Hundred Thousand Kwacha unpaid water bill, but we are working to make payments so that the board can reconnect the water at the market,” explained Chonzi.
”We only have one operating toilet but as a council we have built another toilet with two rooms to add on to the number of toilets but currently the toilets are not in use. Once we are done with everything, we will hand over the toilet to the market users.” Chonzi added.
He further said that the council would build more toilets at the market as the other toilet yet to be handed over to the vendors will not solve the challenges.
Meanwhile, over 300 vendors ply various businesses inside Chikwawa Boma market.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA