HARARE is facing a constant challenge of littering and lack of proper waste management.
The city is bustling with street vendors, and has not been able to keep up with the waste generated by their activities.
Vendors occupy almost every available space in the central business district, selling anything from food to second-hand clothes.
While they may be offering essential goods and services to the people, they have not shown any concern for the environment. They dump their waste indiscriminately on the road and drainage system. This leads to clogged drainage, mosquito breeding grounds, and a general unhygienic environment.
The second challenge to keeping Harare clean is the lack of proper waste management. The city generates tonnes of waste every day, which needs to be collected, transported, and disposed of appropriately. Unfortunately, the city council has failed to collect garbage or to provide adequate waste management facilities to cater for its growing population. This has led to open-air dumpsites with garbage strewn everywhere, posing a massive health hazard to residents.
The city council has launched campaigns to educate both street vendors and the public on the need to keep the environment clean. It has also introduced fines for littering and illegal dumping of waste. However, these measures have not been effective in curbing the littering menace. The fines are not stringent enough to deter the vendors from littering. Moreover, the city council only conducts occasional tours, which do not have a lasting impact. To address these challenges, the council needs to take a multifaceted approach to the problem.
Firstly, there is a need for sustained education and sensitisation programmes on the importance of the environment. The council needs to organise regular forums, workshops, and campaigns with stakeholders, including the vendors and residents, on the dangers of littering and poor waste management. These forums should emphasise personal responsibility, community participation, and collective effort in keeping the city clean.
Additionally, the city council should invest in waste management infrastructure. The city needs more bins, waste collection vehicles, recycling plants and landfills.
The council can partner with the private sector to create a public-private partnership to clean up waste and manage it sustainably.
The city council can also promote and incentivise private waste management companies to operate in Harare. They can do this by offering them tax breaks, subsidies, and other incentives to encourage them to invest in the city’s waste management.
Another approach that the council can adopt is to regulate the street vending industry.
They should identify suitable locations for them to operate from and provide appropriate waste management facilities.
This will ensure that the vendors have access to waste management facilities and prevent them from littering indiscriminately.
Council should engage the community in waste management programmes.
The residents need to be part of the solution to the littering and waste management challenge. The council can set up community-based programmes, such as neighbourhood clean-up initiatives, waste separation programmes and composting initiatives.
Council can also encourage schools and religious institutions to teach environmental education and involve learners and congregants in waste management programmes.