Council proposes adopt-a-street initiative as garbage continues to pile up

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) wants business owners to adopt streets and sanitary lanes as part of efforts to maintain cleanliness in the city centre.

This call came during the launch of a clean-up drive that began on Wednesday and will continue until the end of the week, an endeavour that comes after the BCC postponed its enforcement attempt to remove all unlawful vendors from the streets.

BCC admits that it is grappling with how to resolve this issue of dirt, but has welcomed corporates and other stakeholders who have chipped in to assist.  

“Restoring Bulawayo means we were there and should be able to go there. The local authority is trying within its capacity to make sure that the vision of the clean-ups is achieved working closely with the general public. Without the commitment of citizens, this would have been a mammoth task for the city council alone,” said the Director of Economic Affairs of Investment in the office of the Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution office, Simon Saunyama, who was representing Judith Ncube at the kickoff campaign at Lobengula Street and Leopold Takawira Avenue.

This clean-up campaign comes after BCC organised a similar exercise last year called the Bulawayo Spring Cleaning Week from September 12 to 16, 2022, which mainly focused on clearing all sanitary lane dumps in the CBD.

Saunyama noted that the dirt was emanating from peoples’ behaviour.

“Sihlangene lapha ngenxa yezibi. Litter should be thrown in a bin and taken to the landfill. We need to work together in raising awareness, conducting these clean-up campaigns and becoming responsible citizens,” said the director.

He reiterated it was time to have committed stakeholders who will take on street adoption for maintenance.

“This would make our city better and recreate the image we always had of Bulawayo, the city of Kings and Queens. I hope this clean-up will yield the results we want to achieve and thereafter have sustainable measures that we will adopt to make sure we have a smart city,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by Bulawayo Deputy Mayor, Mlandu Ncube, who said BCC was looking at various options to develop a culture of cleanliness in Bulawayo.

“We will be engaging owners and users of buildings to look at adopting the areas around them and their sanitary lanes, also taking pride in making sure that they maintain them in clean state,” he said, stating the clean-up campaign was a “war against litter.”

“We also call upon businesses to desist from illegal operations, we are hard at work setting up policies to be a smart transformative city. It is our obligation to keep the city clean and change the social behaviour of littering.”

Ncube said the current status quo is a cause of concern and urged people to keep their premises clean.

“The importance of this is to keep the city vibrant, with a sustainable environmental and waste disposal system in place to reduce the risk of disease-related outbreaks in the city and promote the cleanliness of Bulawayo,” he said.

“We are aware of the various roles that business stakeholders play in the socio economic development of Bulawayo. The city is calling on all business organisations  to be involved and promote cleanliness. It is your products that are dumped and littered  in various parts of our locality.”

The deputy mayor urged business associations to take up measures to promote a clean environment by preventing illegal dumping, particularly of hazardous substances.

“Let us set up litter bins outside our shops and inside our premises,” he said

Chairperson of the Health Housing and Education Committee, Councillor Lillian Mlilo also urged residents to take up recycling initiatives, reuse and reduce waste.

“I would like to discourage residents again from burning their waste. The city makes every effort to collect refuse weekly so there should be no need for residents to burn waste,” she claimed.

“This clean up initiative is our pride and it should not be done as a once off thing but as a daily responsibility to keep our surroundings clean. Cleanliness is next to godliness hence we should be good stewards and shepherds of our environment and watch over the city.”

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