MOST Lusaka residents will agree that the cardboard and open air restaurants that have sprung in our light and heavy industrial areas are downright rotten and it is unbelievable they have been allowed to operate.
Apart from being filthy, they do not have running water or toilet facilities and owners have often been seen squatting in nearby bushes to answer calls of nature.
After that they even have the pluck to come and handle food without washing their hands and the Lusaka City Council health department cannot be bothered either.
Don’t we all assume that when we go to a restaurant, everything will be spotless and sanitary because in the first place no restaurant wants to make its customers sick?
But some of these spots are more or less impossible to fully clean, and they’re the dirtiest places which do not deserve that name but immediate closure.
So the cries by residents to Lusaka City Council (LCC) to regulate restaurants being operated in the industrial areas to ensure that they observe high hygiene standards are well founded.
The people have fittingly charged that some eating places operating in the industrial area are extremely insanitary and risk exposing customers to pollutants coming from the nearby manufacturing industries.
One resident, Miyoba Ng’andu, says the LCC Department of Public Health should conduct regular inspections of the restaurants operating in the industrial area to ensure they observe good hygienic standards.
Mr. Ng’andu says that most restaurants operating in the industrial area lacked toilets and running water for their workers and customers and are therefore a health risk to the people.
“Most of them operate from temporal structures which are also used as drinking places in the evenings and the customers urinate just alongside the structures because there are no toilets in place.
“It is sad that people have continued to operate these restaurants disregarding the council regulations. They know very well that they are operating illegal businesses but because no one checks on them, they don’t care,” Mr Ng’andu says.
He thinks it is unfair for people to be subjected to eating food that may endanger their lives, stressing that it is wrong for people to take advantage of others’ ignorance.
Another resident, Doreen Lungu, says that council officers should frequent the industrial area and take to task people operating illegally.
“People should also stop supporting such illegal and unhealthy operations by buying from them because they are a potential health risk,” she said.
The council must be reminded that some of these ‘restaurants’ have been closed on more than one occasion because of poor conditions.
However the fact that they have been allowed to operate with complete disregard for the regulations that exist to protect members of the public from becoming ill is mind-blowing.
Just what is the work of this health department whose officers are obviously enjoying substantial perks for doing absolutely nothing?
Our council health inspectors should wake up from their slumber and begin to shut down these make shift restaurants at a record pace for the good of the people who patronize these in ignorance.
Even passersby can easily spot flies and other air borne insects at these eateries from afar as owners go about their business without a slightest concern of hygiene, the word they have probably not heard of in their lives.
We think operators of these dirty restaurants deserve an emergency closure which should not be seen as punitive but rather to eliminate the conditions that present the health risks to the public.
Needless to emphasize that when you go out to eat you don’t want to get infected with a life-threatening virus or bacterial infection in these so-called restaurants.
Time to talk is over and the council should quickly move in and shut all these makeshift restaurants because they are a danger to people.