First Lady urges Mbudzi business community to be responsible First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa removes garbage from a storm drain at Mbudzi Complex during a national clean up campaign in Harare yesterday. — Picture: Justin Mutenda

Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter

Retailers and businesspeople operating at Mbudzi Roundabout Complex in Harare have been challenged to adopt zones to transform and spruce up the area in line with the national clean-up campaign.

This came out yesterday at the second national clean-up campaign for the year, which was led by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa at the complex.

The clean-up, which is the 14th since the launch of the national programme by President Mnangagwa in 2018, was also attended by Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province Engineer Oliver Chadawu, senior Government officials, representatives from different parastatals, members of the civic organisations, different church members, Mbare and Harare South residents, commuter omnibus operators and vendors, among others.

The area is a hive of activity as many business activities take place there including vending, retailing, catering, and transport services, some of which operate long hours thereby generating waste.

During the tobacco marketing season, the area will also be busy as farmers sell their tobacco and buy food, farm implements and other goods from businesses and vendors there.

Amai Mnangagwa led the cleaning of the complex and its surroundings, especially storm-water drains where most litter was trapped.

Addressing the community, the First Lady said there was need for bins to dispose of litter responsibly.

“Due to the nature of the services offered at this place, it is vital that environmental management committees and monitors be established to coordinate sustainable waste management to maintain a clean, safe and healthy environment.”

“Such structures promote inclusive participation of all stakeholders in making the environment clean with the process having local ownership for its sustainability,” she said.

“To the public, please be responsible citizens and place all litter in bins. I challenge all those who travel beyond Zimbabwe’s borders to behave the same way you do when you are there.”

She urged the public to embrace a culture of cleanliness and public transport operators to ensure that there were bins in their vehicles.

Amai Mnangagwa encouraged people to adopt best waste management techniques such as waste separation at their homes, schools, churches and workplaces and to generate revenue from the litter through recycling.

“There is greater need for self-regulation and peer education as we nurture the culture of responsibility and love for the nation,” she said.

Minister Chidawu said it was important for people to uphold the national clean-up theme of “Zero tolerance to litter: my environment, my pride”.

He too was concerned that despite several business activities at Mbudzi Round About, the place did not have litter bins.

“When waste is dumped on the environment it can cause diseases. We are in the middle of the rainy season and irresponsible waste disposal can result in clogging of drains.

“We are in the process of setting up a waste collection site so that people can sell litter and this reduces the waste that ends up at Pomona Dumpsite,” he said.

Environmental Management Agency (EMA) national spokesperson Ms Amkela Sidange said there has been notable change in behaviour in the communities, but there was need for more advocacy and capacity-building to bring change in mindsets.

“People should appreciate the benefits of living in a clean environment where there is no littering and illegal dumping. We are emphasising resource efficiency, not general waste. We should do more on recycling. For instance Mbare Musika area can make use of the waste to generate biogas,” she said.

Integrated Taxi Right Association chief operator Mr Chiratidzo Zhakata said as transporters they would ensure their vehicles had bins so that travellers do not throw litter through the windows.

“We have been encouraged by our mother and we are going to comply and make sure the area we operate in is clean and healthy,” he said.

Mbare Anti-litter Monitor group member, Mrs Mavis Goredema said they started cleaning their area in 2006 with assistance from Oxfam and EMA, but were having challenges with women who dispose of diapers irresponsibly.

“We were happy when the President launched the national clean-up campaign.

“This is going to change the mind set of many people and although it may take time, we will get there and live in a clean community,” she said.

A vendor at the complex said it was important that their environment is kept clean.

“We are going to continue cleaning the area as this will boost our business. People will end up not buying our products if we operate in a dirty environment,” she said.

President Mnangagwa declared the first Friday of each calendar month National Environment Cleaning Day, as the Government moves to ensure the country has sustainable environment management and waste disposal systems.

The nation is embracing the National Environment Cleaning Day, with more corporates and individuals participating.

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