Government condemns highway littering in Mat South

Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu ,[email protected]

GOVERNMENT has condemned highway littering in Matabeleland South province and called upon stakeholders to address the challenge including ensuring cleanliness in communities.Roadside littering is one of the problems across the country as members of the travelling public and motorists indiscriminately throw away litter, mainly plastic waste and water bottles, causing land pollution.

Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Dr Evelyn Ndlovu, bemoaned the scourge saying urgent measures must be taken to ensure proper disposal of waste as well as clearing of the verges that obscure the view of drivers resulting in accidents.

“I am concerned about the bushes, which were crowding the side of the roads especially the Bulawayo-Beitbridge and Bulawayo-Maphisa roads, among others. This was causing a lot of danger as the bushes were blocking the view of motorists from seeing animals that could be grazing by the roadside,” she said in a recent interview.

“I engaged the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and they are clearing the bushes. We now have to deal with litter on the side of our roads. This isn’t only a health threat but it affects the image of our province.

“I engaged EMA (Environmental Management Agency), local authorities, the DDC office and theMinistry of Transport and instructed them to come up with a concept on how litter can be frequently collected from the sides of our roads.”

The minister stressed the need to further engage community members who will take a lead in collecting litter along the highways for purposes of recycling.She said if waste is channelled properly, it can provide communities with a source of income and challenged EMA to establish a recycling plant in the province where waste can be recycled into something usable.Dr Ndlovu said private players such as members of the business community should also come in and assist in recycling waste and collecting litter. She said a clean environment is crucial in attracting investors.Stakeholders have also been advised to take up cleaning of their environments as a lifestyle in response to President Mnangagwa’s call.

EMA Matabeleland South manager, Mr Decent Ndlovu shows litter dumped along the Gwanda-Manama Road

“President Mnangagwa was concerned about littering in the country and as a result he declared the first Friday of every month to be a clean-up day.

“Everyone should stand up and clean their surroundings. Be it institutions where we work or learn or our houses. Cleaning our environment will help to reduce diseases and ensure that we have a clean environment, which is key to development,” said Dr Ndlovu.

EMA Matabeleland South provincial manager, Mr Descent Ndlovu, said littering was ripe mostly at business centres and illegal mining areas. He said local authorities have to come up with waste management plans on how they will collect litter within their areas of jurisdiction.Mr Ndlovu said the agency is working on establishing waste collection centres along highways for sorting out waste.

“Littering along highways is worse within the 20km radius from each town. As travellers move out of towns, they eat and throw their empty containers outside moving vehicles,” he said.

“There is also a challenge at business centres in the outskirts as there are no refuse collection mechanisms by local authorities. Some people burn their waste, which is harmful.

“Local authorities have to put in place measures to collect this waste and ensure that it’s disposed of properly.” — @DubeMatutu

 

 

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