Government is introducing measures to curb littering in major urban centres amid growing concerns that local authorities are failing to keep the towns clean
Recently, Grazers News, the Information for Development (IDT) news platform, produced a video exposing widespread littering in Harare, which was once dubbed the Sunshine City.
In the short video that circulated widely online, Grazers News revealed how garbage was piling up in busy spots in the capital.
Residents accused the Harare City Council of misplacing its priorities and urged it to deploy more trucks to collect refuse on a regular basis.
They feared disease outbreaks and some shop owners complained that the garbage was piling on their doorsteps and disrupting business.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry deputy minister, Barbra Rwodzi announced a cocktail of measures that government said it was adopting to clean up the city.
The government will be working together with the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), urban councils as well as law enforcement agencies.
“Illegal dumpsites and general uncleanliness of the environment are a cause for concern and pose a serious threat to human health. As such, the government cannot sit and watch the citizenry and institutions disregarding the law through littering,” RwodzI said.
“Given the aforementioned health risks associated with unclean environments, my ministry, through the Environmental Management Agency and other law enforcement agencies have stepped up law enforcement activities in the interest of public health,” added the deputy minister.
Section 83 of the EMA Act prohibits people from discarding, dumping or leaving litter on any land or water surface, street, road or site except in a container provided for that purpose or at a place which has been specially designated for disposal.
Rwodzi urged residents to ensure that their residential, work and public environments are kept clean.
Her ministry indicated that it would rejuvenate the national clean-up campaign that was launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he took over power from the late Robert Mugabe in 2017.
The campaign quickly lost energy, though, with Rwodzi blaming the Covi-19 outbreak that hit Zimbabwe in 2020, more than two years after Mnangagwa took became president.
The deputy minister warned businesses against operating without litter bins that are accessible to customers and promised her ministry was working to ensure that public transport vehicles would also have rubbish disposal containers.
‘’Similarly we will now step up efforts to ensure that all passenger public service vehicles have litter bins. Further, such vehicles are reminded to ensure that they have litter bins to avoid their passengers throwing litter through the windows. If such should happen those operating such a vehicle will be fined,’’ she said.
Added Rwodzi: ‘’There will be rigorous and regular inspections until we rid of cities, towns, growth points and indeed rural service centers of illegal dumpsites and other manifestations of poor waste management.’’