The Health Services & Solid Waste Department’s (HSW) mission is to provide environmental health services to households, business communities as well as visitors of Swakopmund. This is accomplished by enforcing public health laws and community educational activities which will advance Swakopmund to be “the cleanest town” in Namibia. Council collaborate with community partners to achieve optimum health status and interact proactively with the changing environment to ensure that health issues are recognized and addressed.
The HSW work every day to ensure the safety of the water we drink, the food we eat, and the air we breathe, by focusing on factors relating to health and the environment in Swakopmund. The department provides public and environmental health services which include:
· Environmental and public health services
· Business registration and licensing
· Environmental and Solid Waste Management
· Occupational health and safety services
· Animal control services
· Employee wellness services.
BUSINESS REGISTRATION AND LICENCING
A business is defined as any activity, trade, craftsmanship, occupation, profession or other activities that are carried out for the purpose of making a profit. All businesses operating within the local authority area must be registered with the HSW. No person is allowed to carry out a business without the proper registration. The HSD issues a Certificate of Registration together with a Fitness Certificate to applicants who meet the requirements in accordance with Council regulations. These certificates are valid from the date of issue until 31st March annually. The renewals of these certificates are done not less than one month before the date of expiry.
FOOD SAFETY AND HYGIENE
The department ensures that food is handled in a hygienic manner during production, storage, processing, distribution and sales. All food should be safe, wholesome and fit for human consumption and should conform to safety, nutritional and quality requirements; and be accurately labelled as required by law. Food safety management includes: evaluating food premises and food transportation vehicles, and issuing certificates of acceptability to compliant premises, monitoring compliance with legal requirements, and instituting remedial and preventative measures where applicable, examining, sampling and analysing foodstuffs and examining food labels, training of food handlers in both the formal and informal food sectors on food safety, safe handling of meat and meat products including abattoir inspections.
Health education forms an integral part of the operations of the HSD. Food preparation establishments are guided towards approved procedures for the safe handling of food and related products. Food unfit for human consumption is removed, confiscated and destroyed. The public needs to be aware of expiry and best before dates before a purchase is made.
ANIMAL CONTROL SERVICES
This Section is responsible for the control and licensing of animals in Swakopmund as per the standards prescribed in the By-law for the keeping and control of animals. Only a maximum of four dogs per residential premises are allowed. The renewal of dog licenses are payable from January of each year and must be settled on or before the last day of February annually, after which a late fee is payable. The public is urged to report all stray animals for impoundment.
The Environmental Health Practitioners advises the public on matters relating to public health and the preservation of an environment that is clean and hygienic.
Building plan inspections:
Building plans are verified to determine if they comply with the Health and Building regulations, with particular reference to lighting and ventilation.
The Environmental Health Practitioners are responsible for supervising the humane slaughtering of livestock and the inspection of dressed carcasses.
HSW’s commitment is to improve the quality of life in the community which is achieved through: formulation and implementation of policies, programs and projects to promote the health of the public, maintain health information systems that provide vital health statistics, health status indicators of the community, maintain efficient and effective waste management strategies and cleanliness in accordance with the prescribed regulations.
WASTE AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
This Section is responsible for the collection and disposal of public domestic and garden refuse at the waste landfill site including the cleaning of all open public spaces and streets, where after the refuse is dumped at the dumping site.
Although public education is carried out all over Swakopmund, it is intensified in informal settlements where illegal dumping on open spaces is more common. This has been done with the assistance of community based committees such as the Green Ambassadors, DRC Keep it Clean and others. Ten (10) groups were appointed to clean open public spaces in DRC and Mondesa.
The department deployed eighty four (84) skip containers all over Swakopmund with the largest number being placed in DRC, to support clean environments.
The Health Services & Solid Waste Department can be contacted at (064) 410 4500.