Oct 18, 2017 Last Updated 10:50 AM, Oct 18, 2017
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The Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) has procured a Mobile Water Treatment Plant which will compliment the Board’s efforts during water supply emergency situations.

Residents of the city’s Area 18A in Malawi's commercial capita were recently drinking water from unprotected water source following a burst pipe which spilled feaces into the board’s supply pipe line.

The plant supplied by Paramount Holdings Limited will be used during critical water supply interruptions, total shutdown of one of the Board’s water treatment plants, and during water rationing program.

Following its enclosed truck trailer for vehicle towing, the plant according to the Board, can operate anywhere even in locations with no access to electricity.

The plant has an inbuilt diesel- driven power generator, but it can also be connected to electricity power grid.

The mobile water treatment plant has facilities to be used for purification of water for bottling and can treat water from any source including rivers and streams.

The plant which is the first of its kind in Malawi, is reportedly efficient in producing safe and pure drinkable water as any water purifier does.

The public continues to voice out their concern over poor service delivery from both public and private institutions.

This is despite the public institutions being run on tax payers’ money.

Among such institutions is the electricity supplier, ESCOM, which is seen to be doing a disservice to the public.

Blackouts have again become the order of the day, with the power supplier accused of not sticking to its load shedding schedule.

During a recent meeting, ESCOM asked representatives of the private sector, the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry-MCCCI and heads of different health Institutions in the country, to plan accordingly.

ESCOM announced that with the low water levels on Shire River currently, people should expect normal power supply only if the country receives normal rainfall for five consecutive years.

There are fears that most companies may be forced to scale down production following the development.

The water boards in the country are the other parastatals providing Malawians with poor services.

Water interruptions continue to be experienced in most areas, with residences of Mbayani and Nkolokoti in Blantyre, sometimes having to stay up to two weeks without a drop of water from their taps.

The situation is similar in Ndirande where residents are on one day supplied with water, then left for three days with dry taps.

As for residents of Lilongwe’s area 18, they have been drinking water contaminated by sewage.

On the health front, patients seeking medical attention in public hospitals are also being given a raw deal.

They are either told to purchase prescribed medication from commercial pharmacies or in situations when they cannot afford it, sent home without any medication.

Recent media reports of an eight year old who died after allegedly being given expired drugs at a public hospital, signifies just how much the public is being taken for granted when seeking health services.

Mobile phone service providers are not exempted from the list, as they too are also failing to find a lasting solution to networks problems and improve service delivery for clients.

This is despite customers being charged exorbitantly for calls and data.

Also weighing in with his views is a representative of the consumers, the Executive Director of the Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA).

John Kapito urges the public to stand up for their rights in case of any violation.

What the public expects is to see an improvement in the delivery of services being offered to them.

The service providers should be seen to care for their customers while keeping in mind their rights, and the need for accountability.

Residents of Lilongwe’s Area 18 A organised a protest march on Tuesday morning, expressing their displeasure with the water contamination incident registered recently in the area.

Pictures on social media showed the protesters dressed in black, carrying placards, with messages directed at duty bearers, printed on them.

On July 19, a sewer pipe burst in the area, spewing wastes and contaminating water supplied by the water board in the process.

The incident attracted outrage from residents in the commercial capital and beyond.

While others commended them for their transparency, some described the incident as an indication of unprofessionalism.

According to Capital FM’s John Namalenga Junior who followed the residents, they marched from Area 18 roundabout to the civic offices in the capital city to deliver a petition.

Some of the issues highlighted in the petition is that that e concerned parties are not showing interests in dealing with the problem as sewage is still flowing in the affected areas.

The residents also want to be compensated for all for the damages caused by the contaminated water.

To add on that this has had a direct effect on them are some have had to receive treatment for water borne diseases.

However Chairperson of the Human Rights Consultative Committee Robert Mkwezalamba is of the view that residents should have considered seeking legal action, as opposed to holding demonstrations following the incident.

Residents in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe are expressing mixed reactions to revelations that water running from taps in some areas in the city is sewer contaminated.

The Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) confirmed the development on Tuesday, advising residents not to use the water until further notice.

Pictures on social media show buckets of dirty tap water, brown in colour.

The Lilongwe City Mayor Desmond Bikoko took to Facebook urging residents not to drink tap water.

Some people commenting on a facebook post by the board expressed anger with the news, with one calling for compensation and coverage of medical bills for those affected.

Another suggests that the board be sued for negligence.

Other people however feel the situation is beyond the board’s control.

They commend the board’s representatives for quickly acknowledging the problem.

Meanwhile, some residents seem convinced that this is not the first time that they have been exposed to sewer contaminated water.

Just this week, a Member of Parliament, Alekeni Menyani, was quoted by local media as saying, he and his family do not drink water supplied by the board, apparently due to fears of contamination.

The Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) has given Khombe Primary School in Traditional Authority Chadza in Lilongwe  a donation of assorted building items worth MK8 million (US$11,000).

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