WHEN President John Magufuli visited a water project in Lindi Region recently, he was incensed by what he saw. The 29bn/- project was seemingly stalled.
The work was supposed to be accomplished two years ago, but even today, success seems to be out of sight. Mr Magufuli gave four months to the Minister for Water and Irrigation, Eng Gerson Lwenge to make sure Ng’apa water project is completed in the coming four months or risk his job.
The project must be accomplished in four months come what may. The President ordered security officials in the region to seize the passport of the representative of the India-based contractor ‘Overseas Infrastructure Alliance Private Limited’, Mr Rajendra Kumar and other officials to prevent them from fleeing.
He said that the officials will not be allowed to move out of the country until the project is completed. The project commenced on March 17, 2013 and was supposed to be completed by March 17, 2015. The people of Ng’apa need clean, safe water desperately.
And, they are not the only ones in this country who consume unsafe water daily. Some share murky surface water with wild animals risking contracting a range of dangerous ailments including waterborne diseases.
It is imperative to note that some of the waterborne diseases are fast killers. These include cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever. But the list also includes other nasty and almost equally dangerous diseases such as salmonella, diarrhoea and E. Coli.
Hepatitus A and trachoma trichiasis are also in this sinister list. It should be expressly understood that these diseases, in most cases, erupt in rural villages where water is drawn from ponds. Here, villagers share drinking water with all sorts of animals.
Their ailments are caused by pathogenic microorganisms that most commonly are transmitted in contaminated fresh water. Infection commonly results during bathing, washing, drinking or consumption of unclean, infected food.
It would remiss not to point out here that even piped water is not safe enough. It should be treated to ward off killers such as cholera. Cholera is, arguably, the most dangerous pandemic among the waterborne diseases. The pandemic is a fast killer that ravages whole communities if left unchecked.
It is a frightening disease. Cholera is known to thrive mostly in cities, municipalities and towns where unsanitary conditions prevail in congested places occupied by squatters. Authorities should be aware that without clean, well tested water, sanitation and hygiene, sustainable development is impossible. It is high time the state sat up and took notice.