A large group of visibly well-off men and women wore cleaning gloves and equipped themselves with brooms in preparation for a thorough clean-up exercise last week.
The group was part of organisations and some individuals who have of late committed themselves to joining the fight against littering in an attempt to restore the country to its former glory.
Most notable is the ongoing anti-illegal dumping and anti-littering campaign being spearheaded by Miracle Missions, a local non-profit organisation working hand in glove with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management, the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and the Harare City Council.
This came after a realisation that keeping the city clean has proven too big a job for the council alone, hence the need to lend a hand.
The environment is everyone’s responsibility: Ndoro
Nicola Ndoro, head of corporate affairs for Corporate Inventions, one of the companies leading the campaign, had this to say: “Littering seems to have become a social disease and we all need to contribute immensely to protecting our environment. The attitudes also need to be changed.
“Our environment is everyone’s responsibility.
”Hopefully, with a united anti-littering vision, we can make our environment a better place,” she added as she talked about their intentions to get more companies on board.
However, such a move by the corporate world is bound to be dismissed by many as just another marketing gimmick aimed at boosting image and upping sales, an accusation that Ndoro was quick to reject.
“The environment is a serious issue and can no longer be regarded as a marketing gimmick.
“I am confident that if we put our minds together, corporates can come up with productive ways of making a change.”
Themed campaign to run till year-end
Companies, among them Standard Chartered Bank, Royal Bank, Versapak, TN Bank, G-Tide, ZABG and Corporate Inventions converged on July 15 2011 at the Africa Unity Square to launch a clean-up campaign they have themed “Our Environment, Our Responsibility — Committed Corporates,” which is expected to run until year-end.
Companies like Standard Chartered Bank committed at least 50% of their total workforce to the exercise, including part of their management team.
“Staff members identify causes they are passionate about and are allowed to take some time to participate in various intiatives of their choice. The clean-up drive carried out by our Consumer Banking Staff is one very good example and the bank is very proud of them,” said Washington Matsaira, Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe CEO.
What is highly commendable about this campaign was the decision to take it to those litter-infested spots in Harare such as Copacabana, the Central Police Station area, Market Square and the Fourth Street bus terminus.
And according to the organisers, the campaign will also be taken to high-density suburbs, where much more dirt will surely be found.
Seeing well-established people going through the three-hour clean-up exercise, the general public hopefully realised that cleaning up one’s environment is nothing to be embarrassed about as more than anything, it is a commendable act that shows one’s sense of responsibility towards their environment.
Asked about the future of the campaign, Ndoro said there were soon to embark on a programme to get companies to donate at least one bin each and that the project had already been approved by the City Fathers.
She said this was done after a realisation that the country needed more disposal bins as many people justify their littering habits with claims that there just aren’t enough bins to go around.
Whether or not the campaign will achieve any significant results still remains to be seen.
But one thing is for certain, it is a step in the right direction by the corporate world because cleaning up the country is everyone’s responsibility and requires a collective effort.