Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Angola's chaotic capital chokes under mountains of trash

28 January 2016, 06:35

Luanda - For half an hour, the passenger boat sat stranded off the coast of Angola's seaside capital Luanda.

Streams of rubbish clogged its engine as it attempted to enter the port of a city sinking under the weight of several months of uncollected trash that blocks traffic and exasperates residents.

"Look at this traffic jam, it's because of the bins overflowing onto the road," said motorist Joao Mampuya, 52.

"The rubbish is taking up one of the two lanes and it's been there so long."

The sprawling city, home to 6.5 million people, has become an open-air dumping site.

Luanda has for years been a chaotic urban mess. It figures among the world's most expensive cities and the overwhelming majority of residents live in squalid shantytowns with no sanitation or electricity.

Also Read: Angolan sect leader goes on trial for police killings during 'massacre'

The company responsible for removing the trash says it has not been paid by the local authorities, as the country -- the second largest oil producer in Africa -- buckles under the collapse of the oil price.

Renowned independent journalist Rafael Marques de Morais questioned the company's management.

"Did the money disappear? Did they hire incompetent operators? Are the local governments not working? What about the central government?" he wrote in a local independent paper.

Whatever the answer, the rubbish continues piling up all over the city, filling up sidewalks outside both luxurious mansions and the shacks of the slums.

During the rainy season, the streets become flooded, forming stinking, black rivers that carry the decaying waste into stagnant ponds.

The residents have grown used to throwing their trash in gutters and on sidewalks, drains and ditches, and sometimes setting the stinking mounds on fire.

They vent their frustrations online, posting selfies in front of rubbish piles several metres high or on trash-covered railway tracks that have caused many trains to be delays.

Health risks

But since January 11, there's been a new man in charge after the appointment of General Higino Carneiro as governor -- with the specific mandate of cleaning up Luanda's streets.

His arrival -- as a member of the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) -- comes a year before a presidential election, in which President Jose Eduardo dos Santos -- in power since 1979 -- is expected to retain office.

During his first official visit to some Luanda suburbs last week, Carneiro announced the creation of an urban "command post" in charge of fighting the pollution problem.

"We can't go on like this, or we will be forced to declare a health state of emergency," he said.

The governor believes that without action, epidemics could run rampant in the city. Huge billboards promoting sanitation have been put up across town, warning against cholera.

Also Read:Family of Angolan rebel Savimbi sue over 'Call of Duty' character

Since his appointment, "men in green (uniforms)" -- municipal employees, private workers and even volunteers -- have been working day and night tackling the rotting mounds.

The task ahead of them is enormous. Residents are complaining of rats, cockroaches and flies proliferating around the heaps.

"With the accumulation of the bins, I fear for my baby because the rats are pouring into my home," said one domestic worker.

The situation seems to be slowly improving, but residents are holding back praise for a real, long-term results -- particularly in the neglected slums.

As one resident said, "The trash comes back faster than its removed."



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...