Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent
FIVE touts were yesterday arrested in Masvingo for allegedly throwing litter at a local bus terminus amid calls for vendors in rural areas to form waste management committees. They were found throwing litter at Roy turn off, about 40 km along Masvingo-Mutare road by Environmental Management Agency (EMA) officials who were conducting a clean-up campaign at the bus stop.
The youths, in their mid-20s were issued with $20 tickets by EMA officials which they paid. They had been handcuffed by police officers accompanying EMA officials conducting the clean-up campaign. One of the touts, Menias Taruvinga, 23, of Birchenough Bridge attempted to flee but vendors, mostly women, gave chase and caught up with him.
Speaking after the clean-up exercise which took EMA officials to Mhandamabwe Business Centre in Chivi and Mushandike Business centre in Buka under Chief Charumbira, Masvingo East Ward 8 councillor Albert Mangena challenged vendors and villagers to keep the environment clean.
“You’ve seen that lawlessness doesn’t pay. We’ve witnessed touts being arrested for littering and that will serve as a lesson and deterrent measure to would-be offenders,” said Clr Mangena.
“We want to thank EMA who’ve helped us in getting the message of waste management heard in our area. We’ve been having these clean-up campaigns but a few villagers would resist but they’re now listening because EMA has assisted us.”
Roy Venders Association (RVA) chairperson Plaxidis Mugabe appealed for protection against touts who she said are a nuisance at the busy highway. “We’re happy that some touts have been arrested. This is a demonstration that lawlessness doesn’t pay and isn’t tolerated.
“We appeal to police and EMA to help us in controlling these rowdy touts who in most cases are behind environment pollution as they drink their beers here after which they dispose the containers anywhere,” said Mugabe.
EMA provincial manager Milton Muusha said rural areas have not been left out in waste management programmes and the agency has adopted a deliberate approach to educate rural people on keeping the environment clean.
“We’re visiting all business centres in rural areas in all districts to educate people on waste management. We endeavour to have a litter-free environment in all rural areas across the province.
“This is one of our programmes we do in rural areas and we’ve established committees in each ward,” said Muusha. He reiterated that EMA would not hesitate to bring to book anyone found littering the environment and urged villagers to report culprits.