Elizabeth Windsor Road in Marlborough is a busy thoroughfare with hundreds of motor vehicles and pedestrians using it every day. Besides a road, it seems that the traffic passing along it also sees it as something of a dumping area, with a disgusting amount of litter being chucked into the street.
Marlborough Environmental Action Group (MEAG) decided to sort this problem out at a Saturday clean up held in June. Several prominent community figures and community groups were present including Councillor Charity Bango and Mabelreign District Officer Ms. Mverechena. Representatives from Miracle Missions, Imagine Avonlea and City of Harare were also in attendance. Naturally at the heart of the operation were local residents, who gathered at the Civic Centre to receive cleaning materials before setting to work.
Councillor Bango addressed residents saying that, “The time for playing the blame game is over. Yes, City of Harare are not doing their jobs, but we have a role to play. If everybody did their part, this road would not be this dirty.” She emphasised that cleaning it up wasn’t enough, residents and passersby would have to observe neatness and order on a daily basis.
Other speakers including MEAG committee member, Rudo Bangajena, emphasised the importance of enforcement. “There should be heavy penalties given for littering including community service to clean designated areas,” suggested Bangajena, who added that companies must be held to account for the impact their products have on the environment. She highlighted disposable nappy makers as a particular concern and should be tasked with providing a solution to the waste their business generates.
As the crew of volunteers worked their way along the road, two CoH trucks gathered up the tons of rubbish and removed it to Pomona dump. It was gratifying to organisers to see passersby abandon their commitments to lend a spirited hand, even if it was for a short while.
One volunteer identified only as Fadzi said “We need to educate the masses about separation because some of the litter we pick up is recyclable so people should be taught how to dispose of it.” Another person suggested that gardeners need to be educated on recycling and composting since they are the people that deal with litter every day.
Changing of mindset was a theme through the day, with volunteers and leaders highlighting how shameless residents have become with regards to littering. Councillor Bango said “Every step counts in changing mindsets, and it begins with you, and an ideology of environmental cleanliness.”
Once the hard work was done, the clean up team retired to the Civic Centre for refreshment and to watch a soccer match between Marlborough Atletico and visitors FC Dutch. The home side was beaten 4-1.