Ministers promise crack-down on litter, waste

A clean environment should be a top priority for women because it guarantees development, says the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development.

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“Cleanliness is a virtue that we have to carry with us always. A clean environment starts in the home and as mothers the responsibility of a clean environment lies with us,” said Oppah Muchinguri last week, as the Environmental Management Authority in conjunction with the Forestry Commission, Environment Africa, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife, Allied Timbers, together with several government ministries and schools embarked on a clean-up campaign at Mbare Musika bus terminus.

The campaign was supported by several ministers including Ignatius Chombo- local government, Walter Mzembi – tourism, Saviour Kasukuwere – environment and Miriam Chikukwa, the minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Harare Metropolitan Area.

Speaking on the sidelines of the clean-up campaign, Kasukuwere said it was the responsibility of citizens to work towards reducing the disease burden in the country.

“The disease burden weighing on the government is because of hygiene-related causes,” he said. “Citizens should be ashamed to litter the environment and to walk past litter. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that they pick litter. It is good for the environment and the country,” he said.

He called on citizens to dispose of waste in the right places as the rainy season approaches, saying: “Plastics block water pipes and they cost the country. There is need for more awareness on the importance of correctly disposing waste.”

The Executive Director for Environment Africa, Charlene Hewat, called on citizens to prioritise the environment considering that the benefits of a sustainable environment were for the good of the general populace.

“Working together at grassroots level is important because communities should be aware of the importance of a sustainable environment,” said Hewat. Chombo urged local authorities to enforce by- laws that make littering a crime. “We have instructed all local authorities to review their by- laws so that littering is a punishable crime. The business of cleanliness should be a national business and we hope that by next week, this campaign is going to be taken to the rural areas with the chiefs being the custodians of the anti-litter campaign,” he said.

Chombo warned that shop owners and bus operators were going to be the most affected by these by- laws because they were failing to take responsibility of litter in their respective areas of operation.

“Let the public transport operators be arrested by the police, EMA and the city police if they fail to comply with anti-litter initiatives,” said Chombo.

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