Minister says Bulawayo city is a mess

BULAWAYO Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Judith Ncube has described the city as a mess, with 43 waste hotspots identified in the Central Business District (CBD), leaving the local authority in a quandary and risking sanctions from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).

Speaking at an Environmental Management Strategic Dialogue at a local hotel in Bulawayo recently, the minister said there was a need to join hands to keep Bulawayo clean. 

“Truthfully speaking the city is in a mess. We are failing to brew a community of responsible ambassadors to the environment and this will only affect us and the generations to come if action is not taken. Bulawayo omuhle asibambaneni to restore our city status, the cleanest city of Zimbabwe,” Minister Ncube said emphasising on the need to join hands and restore the well-known state of the city. 

The development has put Bulawayo City Council (BCC) under pressure to solve the environmental catastrophe prevailing in the city with the Government saying this will impact on the performance contracts of the Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube and the Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni.

Last week the local authority together with the office of the Bulawayo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and the Environmental Management Agency embarked on a massive cleanup campaign targeting the 43 waste hotspots in the city, where five of these were singled out as major ones.

Responding to enquiries from Sunday News, City of Bulawayo corporate communications officer, Miss Bongiwe Ngwenya revealed that they were working on the implementation of a number of strategies to address solid waste management in the CBD.

“The City of Bulawayo is looking at implementing stricter enforcement of vending by-laws, conducting regular clean-up campaigns, night-time collection, implementing integrated solid waste management and education and awareness on waste reduction, reuse and recycling,” said Miss Ngwenya.

However, residents have taken a swipe at the local authority where they noted that the state of the CBD was a situation that has been building up unabated for a number of years. Bulawayo United Residents’ Association (Bura) chairperson, Mr Winos Dube attributed the crisis to the failure by the local authority to set their priorities.

“These dumps which we are talking about today have been accumulating for years now, right in front of our eyes. It is not like the local authority was not seeing this, they were fully aware but because they could not set their priorities we have had the situation deteriorating to what it is today. As residents, we expect our local leaders to be innovative and give us solutions to this filth rather than just telling us that things are tough. If we are to be honest the City of Bulawayo is at its worst, things are deteriorating at a very fast rate,” said Mr Dube.

He called on the local authority to also relook at the issue of sanitary lanes, saying they should impose a law where they are locked always to prevent people and businesses dumping litter.

“Also as residents we now should take ownership of this crisis and ensure that we do not contribute to the growing litter in the city,” said Mr Dube.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents ‘Association (BPRA) secretary for administration Mr Thembelani Dube said the city had to also address the issue of vendors which he said was one of the causes of the environmental hazard in the city.

“The environmental eyesore witnessed in the city is largely attributable to an influx of vendors who are uncontrollably strewn haphazardly at the peripherals of the city centre. The inefficiency of the local authority to enforce the council by-laws, largely to lack of oversight by the elected officials also is a major contributor to the environmental decay witnessed. As residents, we also have a crucial role to play with regard to keeping the city clean. The departure point is on residents electing responsible councillors who are bold enough and have the city at heart. We also have a duty as residents to be environmentally cautious and stop dumping litter all over,” said Mr Dube.

According to a map of the areas set to be targeted in the campaign, 43 waste hotspots have been identified in the city. Five of these hotspots have been identified as being the major ones, these being corner Lobengula Street and Second Avenue, Third Avenue between Joshua Mqabuko and Jason Moyo Street, corner George Silundika and Third Avenue, Fourth Avenue between Fife Street and George Silundika and Fifth Avenue between Robert Mugabe Way and Josiah Tongogara Street.

Ninth Avenue has most of the hotspots, with a majority of them being on sanitary lanes, while the illegal Fifth Avenue market area has four hotspots inclusive of a major one. The entire 10th and 13th Avenue are the only streets without any dumpsites in the entire CBD.

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