By Jane Nkiwane
Bulawayo long-touted as the cleanest city in the country is fast becoming an uglier shadow of its former glory due to improper disposal of waste that has seen illegal dumpsites mushrooming across the city.
Former minister of Education Sports and Culture, David Coltart called upon Bulawayo residents to make conscious efforts at keeping the city clean.
“Bulawayo’s streets and open areas have become a disgrace. The amount of litter in our streets and open areas is growing daily and our once beautiful city looks unkepmt,” he said on his social media account.
Coltart later told Community Podium that the main purpose of his social media post was to encourage every citizen to take action to stop the rot in the city.
“All of us can afford to spend a little time cleaning up outside our homes, and outside our businesses… If every person decided to clean up, the city would be transformed within a week,” he said.
He further suggested that people need to be educated on the adverse effects of littering. He also urged residents to report companies and individuals who dump litter anyhow on an industrial scale and that such behaviour should lead to prosecution of offenders since illegal dumping of waste is a criminal offense in Zimbabwe which attracts a hefty fine.
“We need to develop a new culture of pride in our city, and it starts with those of us who have the capacity to clean up whenever we can,” he added.
Bulawayo Deputy Mayor Mlandu Ncube assured residents that the Bulawayo City Council is hard at work, coming up with new ways to improve waste management.
Ncube implored local residents to adopt the recycling culture and to make use of recycling agencies in the city.
” I urge all residents to properly dispose waste and adopt the recycling culture by making use of recycling agents. Non recyclable waste should be put in bins so that the local authority can dispose the waste,” he said.
The exponential rise in the urban population in the past few decades has stifled council’s efforts to effectively cope with the city’s ever increasing waste quantities.
According to Environmental Agency (EMA), Makokoba and Mzilikazi high density surbubs are the most affected when it comes to illegal dumpsites.
Environmental experts Nkosana Nxumalo and Wlifred Nunu in their journal, said, “There is a strong correlation between the proximity of a dumpsite and those living within the 90m radius…There is higher prevalence of diahoerral diseases in the population that lived within the 90km radius from the dumpsite.” They further emphasized that there was need for the improvement of waste management techniques to eliminate the illegal dumpsites.
Makokoba ward Councillor,Shadreck Sibanda said that despite the city council’s continuous efforts at improving refuse collection, locals have developed a habit of illegaly dumping waste.
” It is our responsibility as Bulawayo residents to keep the city clean. We also have to educate each other on the importance of waste management,” he added.
However, Edna Nkata a Bulawayo resident from Emganwini surbub blamed the city council for alleged inefficiency in waste management due to the local council’s growing incapacitation as far as waste management is concerned.
Nkata further highlighted the dangers of land pollution. “Land pollution has catastrophic consequences like land degradation, disease outbreaks. The local authority should educate residents on reuse and recycling of waste in order to control land pollution.” she concluded.
Fungai Mdzengerere, an environment expert in her journal Sustainable Development in Africa (2012) posited that inconsistant refuse collection in residential areas caused the residents to find alternative forms of waste management such as illegal dumping and burning which are both hazardous environmental practices.