Thirteen young people from Bulawayo who are part of the MIHR’s 3 months youth environmental activism fellowship initiative have added their voice to the rapidly increasing environmental hazard that has gripped Bulawayo – illegal litter dumping.
The youths said some of the contributing factors to illegal litter dumping include:
- No proper waste collection schedule leading to inconsistencies of dates and times of waste collection;
- Poor enforcement of anti-littering laws and policies;
- Lack of consciousness building through residents’ meetings, church services and announcements in funerals and meetings;
- No formal household bins with large litter capacity instead residents now use litter bags and sacks which fillup faster and dont accept some types of litter;
- Some residents are poor they dont afford disposable plastic bags thus they prefer to use sacks and empty them illegally for reuse;
- The Council introduced private trucks who do not take litter in bins but plastic bags and sacks. Furthermore, they do not empty but take both litter and its container;
- The new culture of lack of stewardship among residents.
The youths then proposed the following to solve the growing problem which has also been acknowledged by the City Councilors:
- Bulawayo City Council needs to review its waste management system because ever since the introduction of private trucks that are contracted as waste collectors, the problem of illegal litter dumping has become worse.
- The local authority should set and adhere to set litter collection schedules in a consistent manner. Times when trucks collect waste should be humane not as early as 5am.
- Contracted private litter collectors should redesign their trucks to allow them to empty litter and leave the bin/sack behind instead of going with it. This tendency of taking the litter bags/sacks may be discouraging residents from putting their litter outside on litter collection days.
- The Bulawayo City Council may need to consider designating some of these illegal community dumping points at strategic areas of the City’s suburbs, and design them as central litter collection points. These points may also need to be fenced to discourage entry by children and pets as well as papers flying around. Skip bins may also be used in these points so that residents throw litter in them. This will also serve the local authority fuel resources.
- Stiffer policing and penalties for littering need to be introduced.
- BCC should introduce more public litter collection points/bins to discourage indiscriminate throwing away of litter.
- Public awareness and consciousness building and concerted stakeholder engagement and partnerships.
The youths’ views were packaged into a Human Rights Brief (HRB03/2021) and shared with various stakeholders that also included Bulawayo Councilors, Council officials and legilstors.
Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights is running a 3 months long environmental activism learning and exchange fellowship initiative with 22 Bulawayo youths from various suburbs and inclusive of males and females. After the fellowship, the youths are expected to be involved in the formulation of a citizen led nonviolent environmental social movement in the City. The movement’s mandate shall include raising environmental awareness; and enhancing environmental advocacy and accountability.
To get a copy of the Human Rights Brief email your details with subject line “Request for HRB03/2021) to firstname.lastname@example.org