By Trevor Makonyonga
Deepening water crisis in most parts of the country has resulted in vendors emptying disposed of bottles and refilling them with water for the purposes of reselling.
The price of the water depends on which part of town one is. In the residential areas it is going for as little as one dollar whilst in the CBD is fetches as much as ZWL3.
One vendor who agreed to speak to Bustop news crew on condition of anonymity said that the containers they use are collected from rubbish lots.
“Most people are buying soft drinks especially Pepsi and we ask for empty bottles but mostly we collect the empty bottles that would be scattered around on the streets. Sometimes we buy from those people who pick from the trash lots but they are a bit expensive.
“Each empty container is sold for 25 cents so buying is not viable for business so we end up collecting for ourselves,” she said.
Another vendor who has a stall at Market Square said that her containers are washed in bulk and believes that they are safe. She also said that not every time do they get the water from safe sources hence they sell water they deem drinkable regardless of its source.
“I do wash the bottles but to be honest I am not a machine so I cannot be perfect. Mvura hayo haina muroi mukwasha (water is not harmful.) We are helping each other. Not as many people can afford branded bottled water so we are offering a better solution.
“We get water from boreholes but sometimes when tap water is available we just use it. Everything we are doing is safe as we are not in a crisis yet. If the water had a problem I wouldn’t be selling as many as 40 bottles a day,” she said.
One consumer, Leonnox Ndoro, said that he buys it the repackaged water every day but he hasn’t fallen sick.
“There is nothing wrong with this water my brother. I buy from this stall every day and I have never felt sick. This is what I can afford and I will encourage everyone not to fear. It is good water,” said Ndoro.
Not only water is being sold in those empty bottles. Other merchandise on offer includes maheu and baobab juice. These products are being made in households and the health crisis could be imminent.
It has been two years since Zimbabwe was hard hit by cholera and typhoid outbreak which synonymously terrorized Harare. If nothing is done immediately, we might be headed in that route. The biggest key to ending this cycle of unsafely will be to provide jobs to the people. As it is, Harare residents are at risk.