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Government launches “emergency operation” to clean garbage in Luanda

The Government has launched an "emergency operation" to clean up the garbage accumulated in Luanda, which starts this Monday, and will involve cleaning and construction companies and the armed forces.

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The plan was presented at a press conference by the Minister of State for the Social Area, Carolina Cerqueira, who explained that the multisectoral commission that was created to support the Government of Luanda "aims to help solve the problems inherent in the accumulation of waste collection and treatment , in order to avoid greater evils related to public health and environmental degradation.

The minister admitted that the problem that resulted from the accumulation of debris, after the suspension of contracts with collection operators last December, took on a new dimension with the rains, recognizing that its effects could have been minimized had appropriate proactive measures been taken. with regard to drainage, infrastructure control and control of anarchic constructions.

"We paid a high price for these incurences, as several lives were lost and many families saw their difficult lives deteriorate", pointed out Carolina Cerqueira, saying that those who "lived below the poverty line became even poorer", which he considered worrying and that led the Government to seek "an expeditious solution to overcome the anomalous situation in the shortest possible time".

The minister stressed that the commission does not intend to replace the Government of Luanda, led by Joana Lina, but rather "an assistant, to jointly find a solution to a very serious, specific problem".

The work will be carried out by construction companies that "voluntarily predisposed to participate in the large-scale cleaning operation" that begins on Monday, as well as operators with a tradition in garbage collection and armed forces.

The Minister of State and head of the Security House of the President of the Republic, Pedro Sebastião said that "some troops from the Luanda military garrison will be moved", without specifying how many military personnel will be involved.

As for the construction companies, 12 were mobilized, according to the minister of Public Works and Spatial Planning, Manuel Tavares, of which five have already started the "activity of collecting the existing garbage liabilities".

Manuel Tavares also spoke about the drainage solutions in Luanda, which involve high financial resources, announcing that a project for the rehabilitation of the Cambamba River, which involves 34 kilometers, will be carried out.

The Minister of Health, Sílvia Lutucuta admitted that there are risks of cholera in the city.

"It was to avoid a public health crisis that these emergency measures were taken," she said, assuring that the Government has been conducting epidemiological surveillance without having any cases reported so far.

Governor Joana Lina rejected, for her part, the annulment of the public tender through which seven companies were selected, stressing that "they are working", although the effects are not immediate, as "there was an accumulation of waste".

"The public tender remains standing, there are contracts signed, there are obligations on both sides," said Joana Lina, who thanked the "help" provided by the President of the Republic to support the effort of the Provincial Government of Luanda (GPL).

The problem of solid waste management in the capital has been going on since December 2020, when the GPL announced the suspension of contracts with cleaning and garbage collection companies, due to the inability to settle a debt of 246 billion kwanzas, indexed to the dollar. .

Finance Minister Vera Daves said at the press conference that the previous model was "unsustainable" and it was necessary to rethink it because the state had no financial resources to maintain it, remembering that there is an accumulated liability of more than 200 thousand million kwanzas for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Vera Daves said that the ministry is negotiating with companies to settle part of this liability, through a combination of solutions that pass through payment in cash, via Treasury bonds and tax credits.

In February, the President of the Republic approved an expenditure of 34.89 billion kwanzas, for the purchase of public cleaning services and the collection of solid waste.

Of the emergency tender meanwhile open, among the 39 companies that applied, seven won, which will ensure the cleanliness of the nine municipalities of Luanda.

However, despite the fact that work started at the end of March, the heaps of garbage remain visible in all areas of the province.

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