A big walk to raise funds for procurement of 50 waste bins in strategic markets of Dowa, Lilongwe and Ntchisi districts has exposed gaps in the national clean – up campaign. This follows an order to stop communal cleaning exercises in the wake of COVID – 19, observes campaigners for a clean environment. National clean – up day is an initiative aimed at ensuring wanton waste disposal is contained in highly populated areas such as markets, locations including offices. It was launched on 11th November, 2020 by President Lazarus Chakwera at Chinsapo ground in Lilongwe.
However, following the escalating cases of the second wave of mutant strain of COVID – 19 believed to have originated from South Africa. The Ministries of Local Government, Forestry and Natural Resources issued a statement that effective 12 February, 2021 clean up designated on second Friday of every month, won’t involve large gathering until further notice.
“The two ministries are strongly encouraging institutions to strengthen their waste management systems and keep their premises clean. This measure will remain in force until COVID - 19 pandemic situation eases and the Ministries will issue further guidance,” read in part the statement.
"To make national clean – up day effective, we must provide waste bins. So as an organization, we planned this big walk so that people should donate to have these waste bins placed in strategic locations such as markets," explained a tired Maloto Chimkombero, Director of Save the Future Foundation after completing 96 kilometres walk.
However, Save the Future Foundation, an organization that promote proper waste management and disposal working in partnership with Lilongwe City Council and the line ministry since August last year noted an anomaly in waste management after the statement release.
The organization observed that bins and skips are in short supply in strategic places, so how will people dispose wastes. This makes it a great challenge as waste containment efforts.
According to Save the Future Foundation, most councils didn’t have waste bins and skips. How can people practice proper disposal of wastes without waste bins in key strategic places like markets?
"To make national clean – up day effective. We must provide waste bins. So as an organization, we planned this big walk so that people should donate to have these waste bins placed in strategic places such as markets, "explained a tired Maloto Chimkombero, Director of Save the Future Foundation after completion of the 96 kilometres walk.
He added that it is sad that people shun issues related to environment, waste management as an example. He was however quick to thank young people who have contributed whatever small they had to the initiative.
Chimkombero who walked from Ntchisi to Lilongwe together with Brain Kanyenda, hopes President Chakwera and his Vice Saulos Chilima will contribute something to the initiative to have waste bins placed in markets. “There is no way, we can make our councils clean without the necessary equipment to have waste bins placed in strategic places,” he added.
The two were welcomed upon their arrival, by Julian Kaduya, Mayor of City of Lilongwe. She thanked them for challenging the distance on foot, saying it is not easy to raise funds for waste bins while walking on foot.
She added that when people manage their wastes, they come closer to God. “Cleanliness is next Godliness,” so goes the saying. This is our country let's take part in the exercise and support in one way or another.
“Our next move is to engage vendors and minibus owners on how to manage our wastes. We plan to propose that waste bins or carrier bags be placed in all minibuses, so that we contain waste thrown out indiscriminately. We will do the same, by engaging all business people Malawians and non-Malawians,” Kaduya explained when she welcomed the crew.
In an earlier interview David Mkwambisi, Associate Professor of Environmental Sustainability, at the Malawi University of Science and Technology advised that Malawi must see all waste generated as an opportunity. He advised that, it is time that such wastes are transformed into usable products as part of waste entrepreneurship.
“As a country, policy must make sure there is a link between waste transition to urban infrastructure as an opportunity. This must involve a lot of young people as part of entrepreneurship,” advised Mkwambisi who has previously engaged in projects on waste management and entrepreneurship.
Photos : Mathews Malata, Association of Environmental Journalists (AEJ)
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