Illness risk for poor who pick food off dumpsites
In Chief Albert Luthuli, which has an unemployment rate of 35.2% and many people living below poverty line of R283 per month, Kholina Minisi is one of many people vulnerable to serious disease because she is forced to find food for her family from the municipal dumpsite near Silobela township.
“I have been compromising my health just to feed them. I can’t bear to see my family without food. Some days go by without any food. In 2010 I contracted severe diarrhea, which got me admitted to Carolina Hospital from the food I got from this dumping side, I ate food which was contaminated with e-coli, which is a bacteria found from human waste. ’’
According to *Sibongile Khoza from Chief Albert Luthuli municipality: “We understand our district has a high unemployment rate but it is dangerous for anyone to be in the waste dumping site. We have been pleading with them several times to stop going to the dumping site but unfortunately they still continue going in every day.”
Minisi said: “Hygiene is very important but I rather compromised my health as long as I provide food for my family. I trying by all means to wash and clean the food but we can’t clean all the germs off.”
Sister Marciaous Simelani from Caroline Hospital said: “My advice to Miss Mnisi and her co-workers is to stop working in the dumping site. I understand providing for their families is important. The place is dangerous and they are putting their health in danger.
“It’s important that they cover their mouth with a mask to protect themselves from the TB bacteria and other airborne bacteria. Bacteria are easier to spread when a person coughs or sneezes and the risk of contracting TB is high. The dumping site environment is a breeding ground for bacteria.”