By Nyaradzo Nyere
OLD flats, mud puddles and dozens of traders going about their business are a daily sight in this old suburb of Mbare in Harare.
The suburb is also home to the popular farmers’ markets known as Mbare Musika, which houses hundreds of farmers from across the country who travel to sell their produce.
Duncan Nyare, a farmer from Mutoko in Mashonaland East province, about 142km north-east of Harare, visits the market each year to sell tomatoes, maize cobs, potatoes, cabbages and other crops and fruits.
Every time after the sales, he remains with rejected cabbages. Like many other farmers, Nyare discards the cabbages in heaps of trash scattered around the marketplace.
Some of the garbage lies uncollected around the marketplace and the other is taken to Pomona dumpsite, but the Harare City Council’s biogas project is located some metres away from Mbare Musika.
The biogas project, which was started in 2017 to demonstrate the concept of producing electricity from biogas, lies in limbo three years on.
City of Harare acting spokesperson, Innocent Ruwende said: “The project was not completed because the contractor failed to perform so no benefits have been realised so far.”
A journal of renewable energy research states that peri-urban areas in developing countries are facing serious problems in terms of provision of adequate sanitation facilities.
They also face problems of garbage disposal and sewage treatment, it points out.
“In Zimbabwe, these mounting problems have resulted in several outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid, particularly in high-density peri-urban suburbs of Harare, which reported 98,585 cases of cholera resulting in 4,287 deaths in the city’s peri-urban suburbs in 2008.
Most of the peri-urban high-density, low-income suburbs are not connected to the central water reticulation or sewer systems,” states the report.
The benefits of biogas include reduced cost of purchasing alternative fuels such as wood, paraffin and liquefied petroleum gas and fertilisers.
It also saves on time wasted searching for firewood and other sources of energy.
The research further states that the residents indicated willingness to switch over to biogas if the technology is availed to them.
Biogas technology has the potential to provide numerous environmental and socio-economic benefits, such as reduced sanitation problems, reduced rates of deforestation and improved indoor air quality in peri-urban suburbs of developing countries.
Ruwende pointed out that biogas was the future in the management of bio-degradable waste and production of electricity.
“We have plans to build some bio-digester at Pomona (in Harare) so that we get electricity from waste generated in the city. At Mbare, the idea was to make sure we do not carry all bio-degradable waste generated there to Pomona,” he said.