Tunisia – Between the risk of cholera and rotten fish, the Sfaxiens no longer know what to do!

Eight days has passed since the Minister of the Environment visited Sfax, a one from which the locals had great expectations. They were sure that the new team picked by Kaïs Saïed and which promised itself to put the country back on the right track and regain the confidence of the citizen covered by ten years of misery and incompetence of the leaders, would find and impose a  fast and effective solution to the acute problem that Sfax had been encountering for several weeks.

But, to their astonishment, the minister assured them that she had not come to find an instant solution, but to inform them that it was up to them to do it, on their own, like grown-ups. They have attempted to suggest some possible solutions such as the designation of several collection points outside urban areas, on a provisional basis. But nothing and no follow-up has been done since.

In desperation, the municipality of Sfax is trying to find a solution at the local level. However elected officials came up against the stubbornness of citizens each time, who reject any presence of landfills in their environment. Elected officials know well that at their level, they do not have the means to inflict on the population the solutions they consider useful. But what to do in a governorate without a governor, who could apply the decision, and a first delegate who prefers, obviously, to stay in the background, for fear, maybe, of knowing the same fate as the governor who was sacked?

During the meeting of the municipal council, the person in charge of hygiene reemphasised her fears and, once again, sounded the alarm for an outbreak of cholera. But these perils have failed to attract the attention of the minister and her executives, who insist on wanting to take their time to find a long-term solution, and do not seem to be bothered about the urgency of the situation.

To all these jeopardies of diseases linked to the mountains of garbage piling up in the city, there has now been added a new risk, which is that of rotten fish, as a result of the dumping of waste stored near the port, directly, into the sea. This affected, according to fishermen, the quality of seawater, and led to severe diseases in fish. Diseases that could be transferred to humans who consume them. Frightened, cornered, terrorized, the Sfaxiens no longer know which way to turn. Some of them are looking forward to tomorrow with great hope. Because tomorrow is Thursday. And Thursday is cabinet day. And it appears that apart from President Kaïs Saïed, there are not numerous people who are motivated by the dire situation in Sfax. And the Sfaxiens anticipate their president to bring up the subject of their ordeal, once again, at the Council of Ministers, and to succeed in imposing an immediate solution.






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