By Dominic Chikwaikwai
The mission statement of the City of Harare is to provide first class service delivery and promote investment. Their vision reads: “Harare to achieve a “World Class City Status by 2025.”
The City of Harare is committed to being customer responsive, dedicated, self-driven, creative and motivated towards attainment of their goals is one of their values which also includes integrity and transparency.
Once considered one of the cleanest cities in Africa, the city has lost its appeal. There is litter lying almost everywhere due to the citizens not taking ownership of keeping the city clean.
There are no bins in almost every street except for places like First Street where there are just a few that can be noticed, downtown, there are literally no bins at all. With the rain season fast approaching it’s highly likely that flooding will be the order of the day due to choked drains.
The high rate of urbanisation and economic downturn has seen an increase in vendors on the streets, some of whom are roasting maize cobs for reselling.
Each passing morning, different types of packaging are scattered on the streets leaving city employees with a mammoth task of clearing the streets and burning the waste.
The political environment has not spared the City fathers, constant meddling in the affairs of the council by the Ministry of Local Government, has led to a halt in service delivery.
Of major concern is the failure by the Ministry to disburse Devolution funds making life difficult for the city council to execute its mandate properly. The controversial Pomona Waste to Energy deal has led to the proliferation of illegal dumpsites across the city.
Devolution funds aside, the City is owed in excess of Zwl$5 billion by citizens and Government institutions, further compounding more woes for the once efficient local authority.
Despite all these challenges and as a way of showing commitment as expounded in the Mission Statement, the City of Harare should come up with initiatives in order to alleviate the tasks.
Engagement with stakeholders should lead the way to clean streets and it must be compulsory that every organisation places bins in the front of their premises.
The cat and mouse relationship between vendors and municipal police should be mitigated by creating designated vending sites which the same police would monitor, this will create a good working relationship that will curb corruption and abuse of women.
All beverage manufacturers should be compelled to erect large bins at bus terminus as beverage empties constitute the bulk of litter found strewn on the streets.
Fast food outlets also have a role to play by placing bins around their premises as the empty boxes can be found closer to and around their premises.
Ccouncil, EMA and the police must hold roadshows and radio awareness programmes of the dangers of throwing litter everywhere. Upon erecting bins, the authorities should enforce the City by-laws by arresting all offenders and litterbugs.
Acting corporate communications manager Innocent Ruwende said the City currently has 15 trucks servicing the city out of a minimum of 45 with plans to procure more trucks being curtailed by financial challenges as less than half of residents are paying.
The shortage of foreign currency has not spared the city as well as these trucks are not procured locally.
He said that they are currently engaging corporates to assist by erecting bins as they will be advertising as well. Some corporations are adopting some sections of the streets as a social responsibility.
Furthermore, the city council is also encouraging manufacturers to produce recycled packaging to limit dumping of unused packages.
Ruwende said city bylaws are now outdated and need to be reviewed to suit the current environment. Stringent laws are critical in order to enforce compliance.
Even the Environmental Management Act Chapter 20:27, section 82, subsection (1) prohibits discarding, dumping or leaving of any litter on any land or water surface, street, road or site in or at any place except in a container provided for that purpose or at a place which has been specially designated, indicated, provided or set apart for such purpose.
Subsection (3) states that every person or authority in control of or responsible for the maintenance of any place shall at all times ensure that containers or places are provided which will normally be adequate and suitable for the discarding of litter. The city council has that mandate of providing rubbish bins in every street.
Cleanliness is next to godliness, this adage supports that cleanliness starts with an individual from home to the city. Compliance by the residents in dumping litter in bins will go a long way in keeping the city clean and achieving the vision of a smart city by 2025.
Iwe neni tine basa (You and I have work to do).