SOME unscrupulous people are collecting excess bottles of chlorine to sell them at inflated prices, forcing Government to warn them of prosecution for their criminal conduct.
Meanwhile, the Lusaka Central Business District has run out of chlorine due to unprecedented demand as the fight against the deadly cholera disease which has now spread beyond the capital city.
Health Permanent Secretary Kennedy Malama said it was sad that some individuals wanted to make capital out of the cholera situation, and advised health personnel not to allow such illegal practices.
Dr Malama said in an interview yesterday that Government would ensure that chlorine was readily available, especially among the vulnerable people.
"We want to ensure that chlorine is readily available, but it is also sad that some unscrupulous people are getting this chlorine which is freely given for use, and trying to sell it at exorbitant prices. That is criminal and it should not be allowed," Dr Malama.
"As Government, we have continued providing chlorine to our communities, especially the vulnerable ones."
The permanent secretary noted that since the outbreak of the epidemic, there has been unusual demand for chlorine in Lusaka.
He also disclosed that Trade Kings this week might start manufacturing chlorine for free distribution among citizens, adding that Government would increase the supply of chlorine from various sources.
"With the numbers reported and general appreciation of people who need chlorine, there has been unprecedented demand for chlorine in the country, particularly in Lusaka. As you are aware, for chlorine, there is a cost to it, as Government we will increase the supply of chlorine from various sources,' he said.
He said Government was happy that during this outbreak, some of partners like Trade Kings who had come on board had assured thatstarting this week, they were likely to commence manufacturing chlorine which would be given to people free of charge.
Dr Malama called on all stakeholders to invest in the provision of chlorine so that the supply could surpass the demand, stating that Government was committed to ensuring increased availability of chlorine.
"That's the time we are going to kick out all those who are trying to take advantage by selling chlorine exorbitantly," he said.
Meanwhile, a survey around the Lusaka CBD at the weekend in all major outlets revealed that chlorine had run out. Some shoppers were seen looking for chlorine in shops moving from one shop to another in search of the commodity.
-Story courtesy of SUMA SYSTEMS