Municipality Pleads for Improved Food Health, Safety and Hygiene from Residential and Commercial Establishments within the City
Food health and safety is key for a sustainable life and healthy living of citizens within our urban communities. The 2022-2030 World Health Organization (WHO) Global Strategy explains that food safety is a multi-stakeholders’ responsibility which include various government agencies, the private sector and communities themselves. As a municipality, we are in agreement with the WHO Food Safety Global Strategy in the sense that we engage with various stakeholders to address food health and safety systems within the city. Furthermore, the Public Health and Urban Government Acts, 1969 mandate the Municipality to ensure that citizens’ life is protected from consuming unsafe, unhealthy, and contaminated food. The ISO 2018: 22000 Standard requires food-producing entities to take responsibility for ensuring safety of their food products and the well-being of their consumers regardless of their size.
To achieve these objectives, we have collaborated with Eswatini Dairy Board to remind particularly the food outlets establishments, communities and other stakeholders residing or doing business in the city to ensure compliance to the provisions of the prevailing pieces of legislation. One of the food health initiatives undertaken through the partnership of the two entities is conducting inspections in food outlets operating within the city. This exercise is critical, as the municipality has been investing in training and sensitizing the food outlets on the importance of food safety and hygiene because it affects the lives of the citizens consuming their food. To ensure compliance to the Food Safety regulations in the city of Manzini, Council conducts weekly routine business premises inspection on food outlets wherein general health and safety standards are monitored. The Municipality further conducts Food Quality Inspection where a large scale of food parcels are monitored to determine if the food displayed is fit for human consumption. The recently conducted Food Quality Inspections sampled various food outlets whereby notable non-compliances were observed and recorded for auctioning by the Municipality as per the Public Health Act, 1969. The inspection deduced a total of 100kg of products unfit for consumption and these were mainly products like snacks, and beverages which were condemned and seized by the municipality, thereafter disposed off at the Municipality’s Controlled Dumpsite. The noted non-compliances included but not limited to the following issues;
- Expired displayed products
- Torned and damaged food parcels
- Dented and Rusted cans
- Erased labels on food parcels
These findings were made from prominent food outlets in the city, which included supermarkets, convenient shops, restaurants and other sections of food outlets operating within the city. The Public Health Act, 1969 declares that food that is unfit for human consumption is one that is exposed to certain infections or contamination. The Municipality would like to urge all citizens to be mindful of the type of consumables they purchase.
Managing Waste and Nuisance Abatement in the city!
The municipality deploys different strategies in ensuring city cleanliness and healthy environment even at neighborhoods level. This is meant to better manage the city environment whilst ensuring cleanliness and hygiene in our communities. This is in line with Goal (11) of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which states, make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. In an effort to ensure zero littering in the city of Manzini, the Municipality procured about (200) street litter bins for use by members of the public. The street litter bins are currently being distributed around the Manzini city’s main streets, namely, Nkoseluhlaza, Ngwane streets, Louw, and Sandlane streets, and the Central Business District (CBD). This forms part of the deliverables of the Integrated Development Plan 2019-2024 wherein one of the strategic objectives is improvement in waste collection coverage and operational efficiency. The 2015 Manzini Integrated Waste Management Plan, which, amongst others, recommends that street litter bins be placed within shorter distances apart from each other in the Central Business District (CBD).
Council would like to take this opportunity to implore all citizens to be responsible when utilizing these facilities. No person is expected to litter as the street litter bins are at the disposal of all members of the public. Littering is a serious offence and the Municipality will surely enforce the law against offenders who will go against the litter regulations. Furthermore, Convenience shops and supermarkets are warned to desist from hoarding off the waste bins as their own. Such acts are against the Municipality’s Waste Management regulations and are an offence. Council is determined to enforce the law against the mentioned unacceptable practice. According to the Litter Regulations, 2011, payable fines range from E50 to E25, 000. All business sectors are also urged to ensure availability of litter bins within their business establishments for use by customers. Failure to do so can attract a fine.
Residents encouraged to practise Waste Segregation at Source
Waste segregation is the sorting and separation of waste types to facilitate recycling and correct onward disposal. Waste segregation is based on the type of waste and the most appropriate treatment and disposal. Manzini Municipality established a waste material recovery facility (referred to as the Manzini Buy Back Centre) where recyclable waste material is disposed for processing. The facility is of great advantage to citizens because the segregated waste is purchased, meaning for every recyclables submitted to the centre, a client gets paid. Instead of dumping waste in undeveloped plots and public open spaces, citizens are implored to utilize the Manzini Buy Back Centre. The Buy Back Centre is located at the far end of Esselen Street near Manzini SEDCO premises and below the municipal abattoir.
A call for residents to maintain overgrowth on their properties
Overgrowth on private properties is the responsibility of the owner; it is very imperative for the property owner to trim overgrowth as it may be a nuisance to surrounding neighbourhoods. According to the Public Health Act, 1969, overgrowth is growth of weeds, long grass, trees, undergrowth, hedge, bush or vegetation of any kind which is likely to be injurious or dangerous to health, and any vegetable that of itself or it is likely to be dangerous to children or other by either its effluvia or through its leaves, seeds, fruits or any part of it being eaten. Despite the ongoing heavy rains, the Municipality is committed to ensuring city roads remain of good riding quality and that vegetation overgrowth on road reserves is removed. The Municipality also appeals to property owners to ensure that their properties are well maintained as per the Public Health Act, 1969. Derelict buildings and unmaintained plots impact negatively on citizen quality of life. Failure to comply with the above mentioned may result to legal action being taken against the property owner.