Written by on March 9, 2019

THAT the Lusaka City Council (LCC) has embarked on the construction of new permanent drainage systems at Lusaka’s Chingwere and Chunga cemeteries which has reached an advanced stage is pious and most welcome development.

This is because many urban cemeteries today have fallen into disrepair and become overgrown, as they lack endowments to fund perpetual care.

A few weeks ago the media was awash with stories of bodies being washed out from their graves by flush floods after downpours at both Chingwere and Chunga cemeteries.

That was not only heart wrenching and eerie but traumatizing as well.

Can you imagine standing there looking at long buried corpuses, including skeletons being dragged to the open for no fault of theirs?

Just because they are not able to complain about the situation they are subjected to each time it rains, it certainly demeans their status even in their death especially in a Christian nation like ours.

The dead need dignity, respect and above all, resting in eternal peace which is currently not happening at the two local cemeteries.

So the local authority deserves a pat on the back for this inventiveness to construct permanent drainage systems at Chingwere and Chunga cemeteries which have reached an advanced stage. This forward looking.

LCC director engineering services, Mr Bright Banda, says that so far, 50 percent of the works has been done on the project expected to cost K600, 000.

Mr Banda says that the new drainage system will effectively control the flow of rain water at the two cemeteries.

This plum decision to construct drainage systems at the cemeteries follows the damage of some graves and unearthing of some human remains by runoff water after heavy downpours.

Indeed how many Zambians today know that graveyards in fact have long been underestimated as ecologically significant places?

Cemeteries provide areas, by virtue of their past and continued preservation, that harbor high levels of biodiversity, especially in those more than 100 years old. Old Chilenje cemetery immediately comes to our minds even in its present total neglect.

In recent years, the acknowledgment has been growing that burial grounds have become valuable as hot spots of biodiversity and refuges for endangered plants and animals in a landscape crowded by human activity.

Of course some ignorant Zambians have sketchily turned these areas into trading places where they sell anything from foodstuffs to alcoholic drinks and in the process litter the resting places for the departed.

We also think that the council should not stop at only erecting permanent drainage systems at the two burial grounds, but also ensure that they remain clear all the time.

It must therefore ban vending at the cemeteries which breed litter that may soon find its way into newly constructed drainages and the council’s efforts will come to naught.

Apart from that LCC, we think, should mount a vicious education crusade on the need to keep our cemeteries clean and tidy all the time.

Otherwise this development is most welcome and should be supported by all, especially those living near Chingwere and Chunga cemeteries.

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