Sikhumbuzo Moyo, [email protected]
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) yesterday launched its annual week-long clean-up campaign dubbed “Big Spring Clean Up” as it seeks to rid the city of litter.
Through the clean-up campaign, the local authority hopes to retain its former glory as the cleanest city in the region.
As a result of BCC’s failure to collect refuse, residents have resorted to illegal dumping of waste in open spaces and sanitary lanes, forming breeding grounds for diseases and vermin.
When disease-causing vectors come into contact with human beings or food, they may transmit bacterial diseases that include salmonellosis, skin infections, and tetanus.
They are also capable of causing viral diseases like trachoma, hepatitis A, and gastroenteritis as well as parasitic diseases that include hookworm, threadworm and roundworm.
Once dubbed the cleanest city in the Sadc region, Bulawayo has of late become an eyesore with informal traders being blamed for contributing towards littering the city centre.
BCC, which has a depleted refuse vehicle fleet, embarked on the citywide big spring-cleaning week targeting sites that have been identified as the dirtiest in the city centre.
The exercise will cover all the city’s 29 wards with a major focus on the city centre’s hotspot.
Yesterday, the clean-up covered wards 1 to 6 and will today be extended to Wards 7 to 11.
Tomorrow it will be rolled to Wards 12 to 17 and on Thursday, it will cover Wards 18 to 23 with the last wards reserved for Friday.
Bulawayo mayor Councillor David Coltart launched the exercise yesterday at the City Hall car park.
He said there is a compelling need for the city to embrace technology in the garbage collection.
“We need to keep our city clean and I want to thank and acknowledge our cleaning staff for the work that they are doing to make sure Bulawayo is kept clean,” said Clr Coltart.
Residents, businesses and Government departments have joined the local authority in the ongoing exercise.
Yesterday, Big Spring Cleaning started at Unity Village and moved to sanitary lanes along Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and Fort Streets between 3rd and 5th avenues in the city centre.
Today, council will clean up sanitary lanes along 8th and 9th avenues and between Fort Street and Herbert Chitepo Street.
Council officials also moved around the city in a loud hailer imploring residents to keep the city and environs clean.
City health director Dr Edwin Sibanda-Mzingwane said the clean-up will create a new lease of life for the city dogged by heaps of garbage.
“No one can keep this city clean except ourselves, each and every one of us must take personal responsibility in ensuring that the city is kept clean,” he said.
BCC spokesperson, Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said the local authority was disturbed by the increase in littering hot spots especially in the city centre.
“What is of concern is the increase in the number of littering hotspots where a lot of dumping is taking place. Today, we are here at the Unity Village where we are cleaning the sanitary lane, and we have roped in the business community as well to assist,” she said.
“We would like to encourage our residents that during this spring cleaning week, they must introspect among themselves and keep the city clean.”
The clean-up campaign is also in sync with the National Clean-Up campaign launched by President Mnangagwa in December 2018.
Since its inception, the programme, which seeks to raise awareness of the importance of a clean environment for sustainable socio-economic development, has been a success as it has reached all the corners of the country.
President Mnangagwa declared every first Friday of the month as a day to clean up streets from physical litter.
This is in accordance with Section 73 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which guarantees every citizen of Zimbabwe “the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being”.
The National Clean-Up Day exercise which is in the spirit of creating a clean, safe and healthy environment states that it is the duty of every individual across the country to clean their surrounding areas be it places of work, education, religion, recreational and residential premises to manage waste management in the country.