Local authorities and EMA must combat dumping
Nqobile Tshili, [email protected]
Local authorities and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) must adopt stringent measures to combat the pervasive issue of illegal dumping, which continues to undermine the national cleanup campaign in Zimbabwe.
The Government initiated a national cleanup campaign, scheduled for the first Friday of each month, aimed at promoting cleanliness and environmental awareness. While various stakeholders have embraced the program, littering remains a significant challenge, particularly in urban centres.
On Friday morning Bulawayo Province conducted its cleanup campaign, aligning it with the upcoming Hlanganani/Sanganai Travel Expo. The expo will be held at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre from next Thursday ending on Saturday.
Mr Paul Nyoni, Permanent Secretary for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution, stressed the importance of maintaining cleanliness, as water and litter issues can lead to health crises such as cholera.
“Generally the cleanliness has to be maintained whether there is Sanganai/Hlanganani because ultimately water and litter issues are what leads us to cholera. You may know that we have a bit of an outbreak now. Water issues may take a bit of time to be resolved. But cleanliness can be resolved any day,” said Mr Nyoni.
While many residents have embraced cleanup campaigns, some still need awareness and education about the consequences of littering. Mr Nyoni called for stricter enforcement and deterrent fines for littering offenses.
“If you go down to our colleagues operating in 4th Avenue even bus crews are part of the cleanup campaign. So one of the things that we have done is to raise that awareness that everyone has got a duty to keep their environment clean. In that sense, the President’s aim to bring cleanliness to our consciousness has been successful. However, cleanliness is an ongoing thing, it cannot get to a point where we say it’s done. As populations grow, the volume of littering increases,” he said.
Mr Nyoni said most citizens embracing the programmes, there are still bad apples who still need to be conscientized about littering.
He said local authorities also need to come up with deterrent fines to punish litter bugs.
“What we need is stringiest enforcement. Every local authority has got the by-laws to enforce that kind of activity to stop but what then happens is that enforcement can also become a bit of a problem in the sense that you can’t have enforcers everywhere and every time. But we need to have increased enforcement. We also need to increase the cost of dumping,” he said.
“The cost of dumping should make you think before you do it. In other words I’m encouraging local authorities and EMA to work out some punitive fines in order to encourage people to behave but ultimately we need to learn to police ourselves as citizens.”
Mr Nyoni said it was encouraging that Bulawayo City Council has also taken initiatives to address littering through the Bing Spring Cleanup Campaign.
“The City of Bulawayo launched the spring cleaning last year and they normally conduct in such a way that it ends with a national one. So we’ve been working together and all hands on the deck is what we require. You can’t get to a day where you say you have resolved the issue of littering, so it is very important to do that Bulawayo City Council is the ones that disposes off our litter so the more the merrier.
EMA environmental educational and publicity officer Mrs Memory Kabuma said it was important to clean up the city as littering was affecting the image of Bulawayo.
She commended the City Council for coming up with a Big Spring Clean-up campaign saying what is more needed is attitudes change.
“We are hoping that this will transform the behaviour of Bulawayo residents with the hope of stopping littering and also stopping dumping in the sanitary lanes which have been cleared throughout the city,” she said.