Everyone has role to keep environment clean: First Lady

The Herald

Tendai Rupapa in NYABIRA

NYABIRA Business Centre, nestled 30km outside Harare along Chinhoyi Road, was yesterday left pristine clean and refreshing after First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa joined hands with hundreds of residents in picking up litter and planting trees.

The programme was part of the monthly National Environment Cleaning Day announced by President Mnangagwa in 2018, which is done every first Friday of each month.

The First Lady, who is the country’s patron for the environment, also led in planting trees that included jacaranda, whistling pine, Kenyan croton and Mukute. She further donated 1 500 trees to communities and schools.

Environment and Tourism patron First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa hands over trees to Nyabira Primary School headmaster after a clean up campaign in Nyabira yesterday.

In her remarks, the First Lady said it remained her desire to see every citizen religiously observing the clean-up for the safety of the general public and integrity of the environment.

“As such, I challenge all sectors of our economy to put in place strategies for sustaining this programme through adopting and adapting to best waste management practices as we start the new year. Institutions, businesses and individuals can also put additional resources and assist local authorities in maintaining clean environments as part of their corporate social responsibility. If we can’t do it ourselves, no one will do it for us,” she said.

The cleanliness of environments, she said, starts with people within homes, communities, workplaces, district and indeed the whole country through regular clean ups. 

“You will agree with me that waste management has become a national environmental challenge and our province in general has not been spared from this menace.  Waste continues to accumulate at undesignated places and even in places that have been cleaned before and this has negative impacts on our lives. Such impacts include health hazards, air quality and loss of aesthetic value of our beautiful country,” she said.

Dr Mnangagwa said local authorities should take the lead and remain the vanguard of the programme, ensuring that their waste management strategies resonated well with the dynamic and fast-changing waste management practices and religiously adopt to meet present and future demands.

People clear and load garbage onto a refuse collection truck during a clean up campaign in Nyabira yesterday.

“There is no reason for maintaining strategies which were working when populations and waste streams were low. Our society has changed due to modernisation and industrialisation hence we now have more urban dwellers and waste streams. It is time to rethink our waste management strategies and establish cost-effective models that are efficient and sustainable. I call upon all citizens to adopt and implement sound waste management strategies taking on board what works best for our different areas.”

The First Lady implored planning authorities to ensure urban planning was adjusted in line with emerging issues to include incorporating proper waste management infrastructure such as waste transfer stations, recycling centres and engineered landfills.

Local authorities and other waste generators, she said, should always have their annual waste management plans in place ready for implementation.

“I therefore urge Zvimba Rural District Council to be proactive in response to waste management challenges through construction of appropriate waste disposal facilities at service centres within their area of jurisdiction. 

“On the same note may I also encourage you to put in place mechanisms of promoting recycling initiatives in line with the national discourse,” she said.

Dr Mnangagwa said the beautification of cities programme had gained the much-needed momentum, hence the call to all local authorities to see the bigger picture for them in the programme and open up to synergies with progressive individuals and institutions to make this successful.

“Nyabira is fast-growing and I encourage the responsible planning authorities to entrench the smart cities tenets in its growth to create a city that can match any global standards,” she said.

As health ambassador, Amai Mnangagwa reminded the nation of the threat and negative impact of the Covid-19 virus and implored the nation to be more vigilant.

Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka paid tribute to the First Lady for her tireless efforts to protect the environment and maintain cleanliness.

“It is my joy to welcome you Amai as you reinforce our bid to keep the country clean in support of the clean-up programme enunciated by the President. You have respected us as a province and for that we are extremely proud. As Mashonaland West we back the programmes that you always bring for us time and again. You bring culture awareness and hygiene while encouraging us to live in clean environments. Cleanliness and the planting of trees are close to your heart and we shall keep our surroundings smart. I encourage the whole province to value the zero tolerance to litter campaign,” she said.

Deputy Minister for Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Barbara Rwodzi echoed similar sentiments.

“We are glad as a ministry that we work well under your leadership as our patron in the ministry of environment and tourism as well as being wildlife ambassador. Your works keep growing and what I have seen here today and what others are seeing would not have been possible for churches to come out in their numbers to pick litter and plant trees together with us. 

“They are led by their leaders to come because of your interactions with the whole nation and uniting churches. It is also essential to plant trees because they are life and we are grateful for your leadership. Today we have come here to Nyabira under Zvimba District in Mashonaland West Province because we are aware that this area is developing to be a city. Areas that are developing into towns and cities to combine with Harare, we have seen it fit to work with them and teach one another about protecting the environment through cleanliness and beautification of cities. The trees you have planted here today are the same ones we are using in all towns under the beautification initiative. Nyabira is one of the country’s growing areas, growing into Mt Hampden and eventually Harare therefore it has to always be smart. 

“Your visit here enables everyone here present to always appreciate that smartness at homesteads is important, especially among women. It is our duty as women to keep homes clean. You are also teaching us to remain aware that covid-19 is still prevalent and we have to be smart wherever we are. You are encouraging the importance of cleanliness of the environment and homes,” she said.

Environmental Management Agency (EMA) director-general Mr Aaron Chigona said: “As a ministry we are targeting planting of over 20 million trees and already with this thrust the First Lady is taking us all over the country, we are going to surpass this and get to not less than 30 million trees that we are going to plant this season. Our patron is not leaving any place behind in this tree planting exercise.”

Nyabira residents were also on cloud nine.

Mrs Sekai Mutaramutswa said the First Lady’s teachings would not fall on deaf ears because their benefits were there for all to see.

“Dirty surroundings are linked to the spread of diseases and many other challenges. This is why I promise to carry forward the teachings of the First Lady to be smart at all times. She is teaching us things that are so practical and helpful in our lives,” she said.

Mr Charles Nyakato spoke along the same lines.

“I am happy for what Amai has done here today. She has taught us to plant trees so that we enjoy their many benefits like shade, fruits and energy. Trees are life and they also beautify the landscape and we are extremely happy for the teachings,” he said.

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