‘Play your part to end pollution’ Minister Judith Ncube

Mkhululi Ncube, [email protected]

BULAWAYO Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Judith Ncube, has called upon members of the public and institutions to play their part in eradicating all forms of pollution to promote a clean, and healthy environment.

Speaking during a National Clean-Up Day held at Apollo Business Centre in Emakhandeni on Friday, she said the task of ending pollution was not Government’s responsibility alone.

“We need to join forces and agree on a sustainable solution to the single-use plastic problem we are faced with. July is always a plastic-free month as part of the global initiative to encourage individuals to become more aware of just how much single-use plastic they are using and how they can reduce its usage and increase recycling,” she said. 

“The main focus is always on promoting alternatives to plastic packaging and carrier material, especially paper-based materials.”

July 2023 has been declared the ‘‘Plastic Free’’ month under the theme: ‘‘Say no to plastic pollution. Imagine a plastic-free Bulawayo, imagine a plastic-free Zimbabwe’’.

Minister Ncube said Bulawayo and the country at large were bearing the brunt of plastic pollution, which was a serious cause for concern.

“The magnitude of single-use plastics is now beyond our control and the extent of land pollution emanating from plastics is alarming,” she said. 

“While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become addicted to single-use plastic products with severe environmental, social, economic, and health, consequences. 

“Around the world, one million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, while up to five trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year.”

Estimates indicate that about half of plastics produced are designed for single-use purposes and that since the 1970s, the rate of plastic production has grown faster than that of any other material. 

If history growth trends continue, global production of prima plastic is forecast to reach 1,1 billion tonnes in 2050.

As such, Minister Ncube said recycling must be fully embraced by all stakeholders as a matter of priority.

“Focusing on plastic, the main pollutant of concern presents a perfect opportunity to bring together all sectors including generator users, waste collectors, and all support systems towards a common consensus on managing plastic pollution. 

“In line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), as a nation, we are trying to upscale the recycling sector and as such we need to create linkages within plastic recyclers as a way to curb the plastic pollution we are faced with.”

Minister Ncube said the plastic recycling value chain was big and urged stakeholders to tap into the opportunities from this enterprise.

“We are calling upon all sectors to join hands in establishing a clean nation we so hope for. Poor solid waste management is taking a toll on the environment and depleting the value of our environment,” she said.

Bulawayo City Council spokesperson Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said it was crucial everyone in the city to adopt international standards of cleanliness.

Mrs Nesisa Mpofu

“There is an attitude of carelessness with how we dispose of litter. We must be intentional and build a culture of cleanliness,” she said. 

“Bulawayo is a city that is going to have national and international impact. When our tourists come, when our visitors come, and when our investors come they want to find international standards.” — @themkhust

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