Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Senior Health reporter
ABOUT 1 200 litter bugs have been fined and more than 20 local authorities have been charged for poor waste management by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) under its blitz on accelerated solid waste management and law enforcement to complement the national clean-up campaign.
EMA says poor waste management affects public health and economic activities such as tourism.
As part of the operation, EMA is also targeting public service vehicles, which according to the law should have litter bags so that passengers do not litter through windows.
Most urban areas are experiencing flash floods due to poor and blocked drainage systems, which eventually become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
EMA spokesperson Ms Amkela Sidange said the programme drew support from the national clean-up campaign launched by President Mnangagwa.
“The blitz started on January 17 and it’s part of the routine we do time and again.
About 1 132 tickets have been issued to defaulting litter bugs who go around throwing litter at undesignated areas.
“We have local authorities that were fined for various waste management offences to ensure we restore and maintain a clean environment,” said Ms Sidange.
“We have also ordered bus companies to put in place litter bins for passengers while other local authorities have been fined for failure to clear litter dumps.
So far, we have held 1 600 awareness campaigns countrywide and conducted 30 media engagement programmes to ensure everyone is playing their part in cleaning the environment,” she said.
Ms Sidange says keeping the environment clean will save members of the public from infection by avoidable diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea, which can be fuelled by poor waste management systems.
“If we look at history, we have been affected by typhoid, cholera and diarrhoea and the source of these diseases is pinned on a poor waste management system.
“As a country that also relies on tourism, we want to create an attractive and hospitable environment so that we get the much-needed foreign currency from tourists.
We cannot have dump sites that are not accessible during the rainy season as some councils claim.
We need standard facilities that can be accessible all year round because once these dumps are not cleared, people bear the brunt and suffer the consequences.”
The EMA blitz also comes at a time the Bulawayo City Council is engaging Government to impose deterrent fines on litter bugs.
Bulawayo was in the past renowned for its cleanliness and ranked among the world’s cleanest cities, but both the city centre and residential areas have become an eyesore in the past few years.
Article Source: The Chronicle