Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
OPEN defecation is on the rise exposing the public to diseases when rains come, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri has said. In a ministerial statement last week in Parliament, Minister Muchinguri said human waste was being found at dumpsite.
“The bad practice of open defecation is also generally on the rise and human waste has been found on illegal dumps and bushy areas. As the rains come, this has greatly exposed the general public to disease outbreaks and epidemics recorded in recent years,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said Parliament must engage the relevant ministries over the matter.
“I kindly implore Parliament to engage the Ministry of Health and Child Care and Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to ensure that proper sanitation facilities are provided for every citizen and that health hazards are dealt with,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said poor waste management was a major environmental challenge in the country.
“Waste management has also become one of the major environmental challenges that the country is facing. Thousands of tonnes of solid waste are generated daily in the country and estimates show that in the year 2011, urban centres in Zimbabwe generated 1.65 million tonnes of waste. This is exacerbated by the increasing urban population, consumerism, negative attitudes and poor waste management system. Most of this waste ends up as litter and on open illegal dumps and on wetlands thereby contaminating surface and ground water and posing major health hazards,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said her Ministry was working hard to address the issue of littering.
“In response to the challenge of litter and waste disposal, my ministry is currently organising a waste management conference themed: Zero Tolerance to Litter Everyone’s Responsibility which will be held from 11th to 13th October, 2017. The conference is expected to be officiated by His Excellency, the President,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said as a build up to the conference, her Ministry was organising a one day clean up per week, in which all Zimbabweans are expected to participate.
“After the conference, this will be scaled up to a dedicated one day per month clean-up which His Excellency will officially launch at the conference. On such a day, all Zimbabweans will be expected to take time to clean up their immediate environment and dispose waste properly. We are taking a cue from sister countries such as Rwanda and Namibia which have sound waste management practices in place. It is my sincere hope that all sectors will embrace this move towards making our country a clean and habitable place.”