Another environmental campaign is born.
It remains to be seen if it will stand the test of time and not become yet another ambitious programme that meets a premature death.
This time, two aspects have been synchronised.
A two-year water conservation and zero litter campaign recently unveiled by the Government seeks to conserve water and manage waste from both industrial and residential activities.
Critics, however, have been quick to question the ability of the campaign in achieving desired results.
Waste management has become a serious issue in most urban cities and towns in Zimbabwe.
According to the Environmental Management Agency (Ema), over 40 percent of Zimbabweans now live in urban areas compared to about 22 percent in 1982, and the high population has resulted in increased domestic and economic activities that generate large amounts of waste.
The increase of population in urban areas has, however, not been complemented by improved infrastructure and service facilities to manage waste.
A recent report by the Zimbabwe Environment Outlook states that pollution rose considerably over the past decade while waste collection rates have dropped alarmingly in most towns and cities. Despite many environmental campaigns being launched over the years, most residential areas have numerous illegal dumping sites.
However, the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Francis Nhema, was optimistic the new environmental campaign was bound to be a success.
“The water conservation and zero litter campaign is simply a continuation of other campaigns done in the years. What makes it different from other campaigns is that it involves different Government ministries such as the Ministry of Water Resources Development and Management, the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development and the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture. Thus the campaign is bound to be a success since it will be done from different angles and approaches,” he said.
Over 200 non-governmental organisations have also been roped into the campaign.
Unlike neighbours countries such as South Africa and Botswana that have stiff penalties for offenders of environmental laws, Zimbabwe is yet to get tough on people threatening the existence of a safe environment.
Despite the introduction of the Environmental Management (Effluent and Solid Waste Disposal) Regulations 2007, and the Environmental Management (Hazardous Waste Management) Regulations 2007, the rules suffer from a lack of enforcement.
Minister of Water Resources Development and Management Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said the latest campaign would raise awareness in the public on the benefits of water conservation.
“This campaign will help people realise that water conservation complements a clean environment. People will realise polluting water sources not only results in dwindling amounts of water but also pollutes the environment,” he said.
The environmental has also managed to rope in partners from the World Bank, the United Nations Childrens’ Fund and the African Development Bank, among others.