I HEAR HARARE WAS ONCE CLEAN

. . . written by a pupil tired of the dirt in Harare

Anashe Murombedzi, Form 3 – Herentals Chitungwiza

HAVE you ever felt embarrassed on seeing litter and mounds of dirt all over? Well, if you felt that way, we are on the same page. Now is the time to stop litter bugs. We have to act as responsible citizens in maintaining a clean environment.

Everyday a smartly dressed person buys a recharge card, scratches it and drops it as they go along their way. You too have done it. Do you think that is adding value to our city and streets?

Then there are banana peels. After chewing the juicy pulp one flings the peels over the shoulder not even bothering where it lands. On the ground of course and on someone’s path.

I have seen people slip and fall after stepping on banana peels. Surely all these accidents are avoidable, if only one cared to place the peels in a bin. If there is no bin nearby keep it until you get to one, a bin is always close by.

Bins placed in town are not for decoration and display but to place litter. The city fathers do not seem to bother too because on a normal working day, the bin can be full to the brim at start of business at 8am and I wonder how it will look after lunch hour.

Someone is sleeping on his/her job. Talk of job creation. My mom tells me that in the 80s the cleaning ladies in council red uniforms used to haul a person back if they threw litter anyhow. I am informed they would tell the litter bug to pick up the dirt in no uncertain terms. That way they taught people who thought the environment was one big bin to behave and that way the city, I hear, was clean.

However, it is really hard to believe as I have never seen it clean on any given day.

Still on council in Harare, I see the big trucks with happy lads cruising by and I fail to understand why dirt is not collected. Point of focus, the Charge Office bus termini. It’s either a cloud of smoke as the city fathers decide that dirt must be burnt in the crowd’s midst or its mountains of heaped dirt which has never been collected after sweeping. Such is the level of dirt in the once sunshine city. It can now stand out as dirt mound city the world over. Uncontested it wins.

All bus and kombi termini in Harare are filthy. The main bus terminus in Mbare is an eye sore. People carry out business as usual and are not bothered standing on stakes of dirt. To my surprise someone is roasting maize cobs next to a public toilet. I will not even ask you to imagine the stink coming out. It is criminal to do business in such a place. Maybe the people working in these areas no longer have a sense of smell. People who use these toilets can testify that the walls are scribbled with human stool. What kind of a person can do that? I do not want to know either.

My cousins who work in Namibia are always shocked when they come home for Christmas.

They say not even sweet wrappers are found on the streets in Windhoek. They say throwing litter is a crime and one can be arrested for that.

City fathers where are you? It’s a crime to throw litter anywhere. You created employment when you introduced parking marshals some years ago.

You can create employment and have each stretch of street manned by a cleaner who has the power to arrest litter bugs.

The suburbs are not to be outdone. The shopping centers are hills of dirt. The shop operators just mind their profits and do not bother having a clean environment. Let us boycott dirty shopping complexes it is their duty to have litter discarded correctly. They too must provide bins outside their shops.

During the rainy season diseases like typhoid and cholera break out. These are diseases emanating from dirty environments and they can be avoided.

Food outlets have clear messages on the boxes they sell their fast foods in: ‘Keep your country clean throw litter in a bin’.

There is a picture, for those not able to read, of a person throwing the litter into a bin. But what does one do after eating and especially those driving in cars? The boxes fly out through windows even causing a danger to other motorists and road users. All this coming from smartly dressed people, with money, educated but throwing objects out of moving vehicles.

My call to all Zimbabweans is do not throw litter anywhere, place it in a bin. Let us be the first people to make our country admirable by keeping it clean, it is simple.

The council is there to collect dirt from bins and it is your duty and mine to place it there. Clean city begins with you and me.

No to throwing litter everywhere. It does not add value. Let’s keep our country clean. No to dirt. It begins with you and me.

 

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