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Steep fines key to tackling litter

Mukundi Mutasa

Littering fines are widely used globally as a more radical approach to addressing waste management challenges and ensuring that people live in a clean and healthy environment.
Zimbabwe continues to be “litter-infested” and it appears that people are less interested in national efforts to keep their environment clean. It has since become the norm to throw away litter without being ashamed of it.
This is regardless of the widely publicised littering fines imposed by the Environmental Management Act (Cap 20:27), which is the supreme environmental law in the country.

The most common defence people use to justify their littering habits is that there are insufficient litterbins especially in the city centres making it difficult for them not to throw away their litter until they have found a bin.
This justification hinders the progress in addressing the litter challenges in most cities around Zimbabwe, and the local authorities have been encouraged to increase the number of litterbins in areas of their jurisdiction.
With their current capacity challenges, local authorities cannot adequately provide the litterbins in their areas without additional support. Appeals continue to be extended to other key stakeholders, particularly the corporates, to provide litterbins as part of their corporate social responsibility.
Litter, in particular along the roadside and at illegal dumpsites, takes the sparkle out of the beauty that Zimbabwe is.

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