Land Pollution Across Matabeleland North Amidst National Clean-Up Campaigns
Poor solid waste management in Matabeleland North province puts human lives at health risks. Image by Unsplash
In Matabeleland North, various stakeholders participate in national clean-up campaigns every Friday of every month but land pollution is getting worse in the province.
LUPANE (The Citizen Bulletin) — Misheck Ndoro, a resident of Lupane, Matabeleland North says he always has goose bumps when he drinks tap water.
Ndoro fears that underground may be contaminated.
“People don't respect the law or take care of their surroundings,” says Ndoro.
An investigation by this publication reveals that there is poor solid waste management in various districts of the province.
Solid waste management includes the collection, transportation, and disposal of waste.
While it is the responsibility of governments and local authorities to maintain a clean and safe environment, The Citizen Bulletin uncovered that solid waste management is a challenge in the province.
The Citizen Bulletin heard that several factors such as population expansion, fast urbanization, a lack of environmental education, and insufficient trash cans among others are to blame for the proliferation of illegal dump sites.
While some local authorities are making an attempt to acquire cutting-edge trash management machinery, it is a different story in Lupane and Hwange for example.
In 2018, President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched a clean-up campaign to be conducted every Friday monthly.
Governmental departments have steadfastly supported the campaign and turned it into a tradition.
Marshal Phiri, a political activist, says the programme while noble was not having a desired buy-in from various stakeholders because it tends to be politicised.
“There is a gap, and it's a mistake that was made at the start of the program,” Phiri says.
“The clean-up took on a political overtone because no one outside of government offices participated, despite the fact that it is an admirable cause that everyone should support.”
Phiri however says awareness campaigns must be unveiled to encourage good solid waste management.
“Local leadership must appropriately involve locals and enhance their knowledge of the value of the environment,” he adds.
Tinos Dube, an Environmental Health Technician, says sustainable environmental use is a responsibility of every citizen.
Villagers are calling for the installation of street bins to establish common rubbish collection points. Image by SUEUAA
“In particular, addressing issues with environmental pollution, public health, land use, resource management, and socioeconomic effects connected with incorrect waste disposal is the main goal of sustainable solid waste management,” Dube says.
Zimbabwe has faced difficulties with solid waste management despite having certain waste management laws such as the (Urban Councils Act, Chapter 29:15, Environmental Management Act (EMA), Chapter 20:27).
No individual shall discharge or dispose of any waste in a manner that endangers the environment or the health of any person, according to Section 70 (1) of the country's EMA Act.
Speaking to The Citizen Bulletin, Gertrude Ndlovu of Mpofu village in Lupane who works at Lupane Centre says he is disappointed with litterbugs.
“We are to blame as residents, but I am of the opinion that local authorities must also install street bins or community bins to establish common rubbish collection points,” Ndlovu says.
“The environment will benefit greatly from those efforts.”
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Environmentalist Mandlenkosi Siziba says irresponsible citizens were causing health hazards through illegal waste dumping.
“Illegal dump sites are ideal locations for rodents, mosquitoes, and houseflies, which are common carriers of contagious diseases. Food, water, and waterborne diseases including cholera, typhoid, and malaria, among others, are more common due to these vectors,” Siziba.
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Land pollution, Clean-up campaigns, Public health, Climate change, Matabeleland North, Lupane
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