The evident availability of more bins in Harare is not turning to be the reprieve it should be because the bins are now full to the brim with dirt, yet the garbage remains uncollected.
Environment with Chipo Masara
Waste management has been a challenge for Zimbabwe for a long time, a problem that has played a significant role in the country losing much of its previous attractiveness.
It is clear for everyone to see that compared to say two decades ago, the country is now in a lackluster state.
The subject of waste management, or the lack thereof, made headlines when the country, especially the capital itself, was continuously hit by cholera and typhoid scourges, diseases that health practitioners attributed to the filthy state the country was in.
This proved to be the clarion call the responsible authorities might have been waiting for to be stirred to action.
Queried on why it was not tending to its duties to ensure that the city was kept clean and in turn healthy for the people that live in it, Harare City Council blamed their laid back attitude to the lack of funds, which (like almost everything that went wrong in the country), was blamed on the economic meltdown.
With the “lack of funds” mantra having become the norm in the authorities’ defence, it became clear that if left to them, nothing worth noting would be done to bring back some semblance of normalcy in the city in as far as waste management was concerned.
In the meantime, typhoid and cholera remained very much a threat.
The situation would most likely have remained as dire and even further deteriorated had it not been for some Zimbabweans that decided enough was enough.
Driven by the need to restore the country’s lost glory, different groups and in some cases mere individuals embarked on various “zero litter” campaigns. While it started on a slow pace, it slowly gained momentum, until cleaning up Zimbabwe became a major movement.
Names such as Miracle Missions, Proudly Zimbabwe Foundation, Environment Africa, among others, would sound familiar to many as these were some of the people that have been championing the move towards a litter-free Zimbabwe.
There was general consensus that in order to end the litter scourge in the country, a few problems needed to be looked into.
The acquiring of bins became a top priority for most independent waste management players, believing with more bins on the streets, it meant less litter thrown everywhere.
The most successful campaign must have been the “BIN-it Zimbabwe” campaign, run by Proudly Zimbabwe Foundation.
In a feat that was a first for the country in a long time, the organisation managed to rope into the programme the corporate world. For the first time, we witnessed well-to-do men and women, armed with brooms, cleaning up the streets.
This was amazing, as it sent the message that keeping the city clean was everyone’s duty and not a preserve for the city cleaners, who were obviously finding it a mammoth task.
But maybe the greatest contribution by the corporate world yet, was sponsoring the purchasing of bins.
Although the situation is still far from being perfect, as the city still needs a lot more bins — ideally a bin per every 10 metres — the situation is certainly better now, at least for Harare’s CBD.
However, the fact that the bins have not been emptied since most of them were installed and now burst with litter certainly does not augur well.
It makes one wonder why we even have the waste management department at the council and what exactly it is they are getting paid for. Or could it be that they expect the patriotic people that helped in getting those bins on our streets to be the same people that come to empty them? It boggles the mind.
May Harare City Council be advised that most of the bins in Harare CBD are now full and in dire need of emptying.
While many people have come to their rescue in terms of waste management, it is hoped they do not forget that it still primarily falls under their mandate.
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