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Dusty road a health hazard for Mogoditshane Block 9 residents

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Residents of Mogoditshane Block 5 have been battling against the dust problem that has become a health issue for well over a decade, with clouds of dust descending on their homes on a daily basis. Residents are concerned about the ‘wall of dust’ they are exposed to day and night, saying it is a threat to their health. “It has affected a lot of aspects of our homes, our lives, and our health,” Leungo Moeti said at her home.

On Moeti’s property, virtually everything is coated in a layer of dust. She said much of it comes from vehicles especially kombis that drive past at incredible speed, leaving in their trail billows of dust that blow throughout the neighbourhood. “It’s almost pointless trying to keep anything clean,” she said. Goabaone Munyamane lives down the road from Moeti and she said they have to clean dust daily and never even dream of opening windows. Both homeowners are worried about the potential health effects of breathing in the fine dust.

“It’s irritating to your eyes, your throat you see it on your counter tops, in your food. It’s on everything, it’s everywhere,” Munyamane said. Another resident, Tshepo Monageng, 32, who has been living in the area since the early ‘90s said they survive by drinking fresh milk daily in order to dilute the dust from their respiratory system. He said they sometimes go to the extent of asking for face and nose masks from the clinic in order to cover their faces and get through the day. He said the situation is at times worsened by ignorant drivers.

“They are always in a hurry, you hardly see a driver who is considerate around here, this huge cloud of dust has now become normal and a part of us,” he said. Street vendor Monyana Mmutle (34) lamented that she is failing to expand her business because of the situation at hand. “I wanted to expand and sell vegetables but nobody will buy them if they will always be covered in dust,” she said.

The situation is even more disheartening because her home is not very far from the road, her home furniture is always dusty and every-time she does laundry, she is forced to remove it from the line immediately after drying. She fears for her two-year old little boy, who at times does not respond well to the environment and coughs badly. “We fear for our children who are at the risk of falling ill due to the excessive dust.”

‘And that fear is not off the mark. “Prolonged exposure to dusty air may lead to lung cancer or interstitial lung disease (ILD),” General Practitioner at Lordland Medical Centre, Dr David Munsanje tells The Midweek Sun. ILD reduces the amount of oxygen in the body and can cause death, he says. “Both the toxic air and dust pollution can cause diseases like asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, nasal allergy and rhinitis,” he says, adding two more diseases, silicosis and asbestosis, are also on the increase lately. Dr Munsanje said the dust clouds people see were not the real problem in terms of health. “It is the very small invisible dust particles that get deep inside the lungs.”

Efforts to verify increased cases of Tuberculosis (TB) at the nearby Nkoyaphiri clinic hit a snag as this publication was all week sent from pillar to post. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the clinic is inundated with people suffering from TB. It is feared that the dusty road may be causing this. Member of Parliament for Mogoditshane Sedirwa Kgoroba said he has long advised government that the road needs immediate attention but his pleas have hit a snag.“I even thought of organising a protest march but many felt that it would appear political, I long spoke to minister Slumber Tsogwane to come and address Mogoditshane residents but he has not responded yet,” he said.Nevertherless Kgoroba noted that the council has promised that by late this year, construction of a proper tarred road will begin in the area.

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BMC secures beef market in Seychelles

Dikarabo Ramadubu

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Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) will soon start to sell its beef to the Island of Seychelles. Not only will they sell frozen raw meat, but will also send corned beef for trial in the Island.

All this is thanks to last week’s visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi who included in his delegation executive management of the BMC, led by Chief Executive Officer, Dr Akolang Tombale.
The agreement signed between BMC and two leading Seychelles companies, will see BMC exporting at least 48 tonnes of raw beef to the island possibly from October. The names of the two companies that BMC signed an agreement with are Seychelles Trading Company which is a quasi-government organisation, and Rosebelle Company which is privately owned.

Although both have agreed to trade with each other, BMC cannot start immediately, as they have to wait for the green light from Seychelles companies who still have to apply for import permits in accordance with the law of their republic.

Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Tombale expressed gratitude that they managed to get good business in Seychelles through the assistance of President Masisi. “We are ready to export any time from now. As you know Seychelles is an island surrounded by mountains and cannot produce much if not anything. “They therefore depend much on imports even from as far as Brazil and Europe. Their economy is driven by tourism and they do not differ much with the European market in terms of the demand for beef as most tourists come from Europe and United States.”

Dr. Tombale said they agreed with the two companies that since “we are not sure about the logistics we will start by selling 24tonnes to each company per month, meaning we will be supplying the Island with a total of 48 tonnes per month. The idea is to start small and grow bigger as the people get used to our beef.” BMC has also negotiated to sell small stock meat to Seychelles and successfully negotiated for local chicken farmers to start selling their range chicken to Seychelles as well.

According to Tombale, he negotiated the deal after being approached by local chicken farmers amongst them Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete, who requested that “we should try to find a market for chicken farmers as we go around the world searching for the beef market.” Tombale revealed that for a start both range chickens and small stock will not be supplied in tonnes or large quantities as they will be sold on a trial basis.

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G-west community reunion-walk a resounding success

Keletso Thobega

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Multitudes turned up for the Mosengwaketsi community walk and braai session this past Saturday in Gaborone West. The walk was held in the morning and was preceded by football games and a braai session that went on until late in the evening.

According to the event director Tshenolo Palai, the aim of the community day event was to revive community spirit and address crime and social ills. “The Mosengwaketsi community reunion will be held not only to create a platform to build unity but also address the social ill of passion killings,” he said.

Palai said that they had also invited health stakeholders for a wellness segment because they had realised that there are many health related conditions that affect the quality of people’s lives hence they had joined forces with religious organisations, the business community, neighbourhood outreach policing and other stakeholders in the area to encourage a culture of unity and create dialogue between all the parties.

He noted that they had wanted to create a relaxed environment conducive for different people to engage and strengthen their networks. He said they were also concerned with the high rate of crimes of passion in Botswana and also wanted to create a platform for both men and women to open up on issues that affect them because most people tend to be more relaxed in a social setting.

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