(ERGO) – Concerns over the dumping of expired food and medical waste in a village in Beletweyn, southern Somalia’s Hiran region, have spurred a local volunteer youth group to take action to clean up the area.
The group leader, Ahmed Mohamed Yusuf, told Radio Ergo that they were cleaning three areas of Bundaweyne village, where possibly contaminated food had been dumped.
The 12-member group hired five people to help them collect and burn the garbage, using their own funds to pay $50 a day to the workers. They also hired a tuk-tuk taxi fitted with loudspeakers to inform the residents about the risks of consuming expired food from the dump.
The local authorities say two children became sick with diarrhoea after eating expired sweets and biscuits that came from a dump in the sub-village of Fiiltaro.
The commissioner of Fiiltaro in Bundaweyn village, Hussein Sandhool, told Radio Ergo’s local reporter that two men caught dumping expired sweets, biscuits and diapers in Fiiltaro at night had been arrested and would be charged in court.
He said garbage including medical waste such as syringes was being dumped in a major thoroughfare leading to the meat market, posing a health hazard to local residents. His office was planning to use local radios to warn local businesses and residents against dumping in the streets.
Businesses in Bundaweyn are notorious for dumping waste on the streets and into the river Shabelle.
Last month, the mayor of Beletweyne visited the main markets in the village to order business owners to stop littering the streets and dumping garbage into the river. The mayor identified restaurants and pharmacies as the worst offenders.