City of Harare’s Waste Management Department has unrolled its 5-year strategic action plan aimed at cleaning up the city by 2018.
In its quest to achieve world-class city status by 2025, the council will clear up a total of 100 tonnes of waste by the year 2018. The key areas of the plan focus on management of solid waste, public conveniences and landfills.
Its goals include achieving a zero litter status in the city by December 2018 and reducing dumps in all residential suburbs by 80% by December 2017. The City also aims to improve waste disposal efficiency in 2015 by 60% and implement resource recovery projects by December the following year.
According to the plan that was crafted in September last year, the CBD is expected to become litter free by December this year. Residential suburbs are earmarked to attain similarly clean environments by 2018.
Council has already embarked on ward based clean up campaigns, started in November, as a way of combatting the litter problem. So far, some work has been done in Mbare and Sunningdale. The campaign has now moved to other areas.
Harare also aims to establish an engineered landfill site by the end of 2015. Council is expected to adopt waste recycling to improve livelihoods. The rehabilitation of the decommissioned Golden Quarry Disposal site in Westlea should be completed by December 2017.
However, the council is faced with various challenges as it tries to get rid of litter in Harare. It has cited the increased population density as well as the existence of illegal dumps dating back 10 years and increased waste generation due to illegal activities such as hawking and vending. Combine these with an inability to craft policies to effectively deal with the influx of vagrants, homeless people and street kids, achieving a clean Harare is a major challenge. Lack of waste recycling initiatives, lack of modern waste disposal techniques and limited funding further thwart good intentions.
The low level of public awareness plus an inherent culture of littering among residents is also set to hamper the council’s strategic plan. However, it is everyone’s business to make sure that they live in a clean environment.
Charlene Hewat, CEO of Environment Africa says that her organisation supports the strategic plan. “It is a good thing that they are cleaning up the City. It is everyone’s duty to clean up the environment,” she says. However, she went on to say, “I think focus should also be put on awareness campaigns to change people’s mindsets. It should not just be a clean up process as people need to be taught not to throw litter everywhere.”
Simbarashe Moyo, the director of Combined Harare Residents Trust (CHRA), concurs with Hewat, saying that there is need for strong awareness campaigns on litter disposal. Moyo bemoaned people’s littering tendencies and urged authorities to revisit the City’s by-laws so that litterbugs can be brought to book.
“We are looking forward to forming partnerships with council where residents can volunteer to clean up the City once or twice monthly. There is also need to come up with public-private partnerships so that the private sector can be involved as well,” said Moyo.
If implemented well, with resident buy-in, the strategic plan has the potential of ensuring a clean environment in the city.