THE recurrent flooding season in Lusaka is back again and it appears we are trapped in it forever.
Those who have lived in Lusaka for a long time will agree the unprepossessing flooding of market places and roads are stomach churning experiences.
In fact these places have become the choice sources for disease outbreaks such as the notorious cholera.
In general, Lusaka lies on a rocky subsurface, which is both dolomitic, and calcite and makes water to stay on the surface for longer periods.
In townships like Chazanga, Kanyama, John Laing and many others, it is very difficult to drive with a small car, especially on gravel or dusty roads because of the rocks.
It would appear however, that one of the biggest challenges we have in our lovely city of Lusaka is lack of proper planning in that most of the townships were unplanned for.
Some of the buildings and houses have been built in channels which used to drain water out of the Central Business District (CBD).
All these factors contribute to flooding, however our unregulated street vending is also a major backer to flooding in the CBD because vendors throw garbage everywhere which later block the drainage system.
Today there is no space left for window shopping or parking of vehicles in Lusaka’s CBD as all spaces have become of commercial use not only by street vendors but even shop owners as well.
What is most ill-starred is that street vendors, whom we have allowed back, do not dare dump the litter that they generate in the right places.
Much of this clutter by street vendors as usual ends up in drainages causing immense blockages such that any time the city receives even little rains, the whole CBD becomes a lake.
Those heaps and sacks of refuse probably dumped in the drainage by communities in many parts of Lusaka is indeed already a recipe for disaster because they encumber the smooth flow of water.
These logjams have the capacity to destroy the drainage and the next thing the people will be demanding is for the council to go and release the drainages. Disappointingly, Zambians appear to have a very diffident habit of throwing litter anyhow.
What we don’t seem to appreciate is that even in the new ‘world order’ that may be brought about, the building and cleaning will be done by ourselves.
It is therefore the responsibility of each and every one of us to ensure that we live in a sanitary environment by warranting that we build our Lusaka now by not throwing litter everywhere which blocks the drainage systems resulting in floods.
Even if flooding of Lusaka is not new, we must ask ourselves how we have disposed of garbage especially the polythene materials.
We have nearly everything wrapped in plastics when we buy things which we throw about and end up in drains. No one can deny today that these drainage systems have been blocked by man’s own sloppily dumping of garbage!
Bad town planning also leads to this flooding. Since independence there has been straggly building without providing space for laying pipes and lines for niceties such as sewerage, water, drainage, electricity etc.
But with good planning it is possible to stop flooding in our Lusaka’s CBD and indeed in many others parts of the city.