COMMENT: Our minds could also do with some cleaning

The Chronicle

In December 2018, President Mnangagwa declared the first Friday of each month National Environment Cleaning Day in a bid to promote general cleanliness as well as sustainable environment management and waste disposal systems.

The launch running under the theme “Zero tolerance to litter: my environment, my pride,” marked the beginning of environmental cleaning across the country every first Friday between 8am and 10am.

To support this noble initiative, the private sector, Government departments and local authorities also came up with a number of initiatives towards a clean environment.

In Bulawayo, council recently launched a clean-up of sanitary lanes in the city centre that had become rubbish dumps.

Sanitary lanes are designed to provide leeway for service vehicles, such as delivery and garbage collection trucks but have become an eyesore as irresponsible residents dump their litter.

Only a few days into the campaign, residents started dumping litter in sanitary lanes yet again. The city is now back to square one.

As we reported yesterday, the homeless and other members of the public are also taking advantage of sanitary lanes that are not closed off to relieve themselves.

This situation is obviously worsened by the shortage of public toilets in the city centre, as well as unnecessary milling about.

Some have blamed vendors for the bulk of the litter, saying if they only sold food stuffs at designated areas the city would be clean.

However, Mr Michael Ndiweni, the director of the Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association, has said vendors must not be solely blamed for the rampant littering around the city.

“People shouldn’t shift blame on the informal traders. Residents who are presentable to society are also the ones who throw litter, such as banana peels and kaylites out of moving car windows and also on the pavements of the city.

It is the responsibility of every citizen to keep the city clean, but to shift blame to vendors is not fair. We are taking advantage of their economic situation as they are the lowest on the ladder,” said Mr Ndiweni.

We agree with Mr Ndiweni; he is dead right.

Today is the first Friday of February which is National Environment Cleaning Day. Residents must come out in their numbers to help Government and council in cleaning up the city.

Discussions must also be held on the permanent solution to the filthy sanitary lanes. The city needs more bins and toilets. Sanitary lanes also need to be closed off to unauthorised traffic.

The private sector, or businesses operating in the city centre must play their part by providing bins and closing off sanitary lanes. Council and the Environmental Management Agency must work together to make this mandatory.

Bigger players in business can assist council in reopening closed public toilets and building new ones. Businesses can also adopt functional toilets.

National Environment Cleaning Day should not just be about sweeping but working together to find permanent solutions to waste disposal challenges.

Off course attitudes also matter. As Mr Ndiweni said, banana peels and kaylites are being thrown out of moving cars.

This is a sign that our minds could also do with some cleaning.

Let’s all work together for a clean environment for all.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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