Garbage collection woes mount as council continues to struggle

Uncollected garbage in Greencroft suburb. Image courtesy of Prayon P. Gutsa

By Prayon Panashe Gutsa

The Harare city council is struggling to collect garbage at refuse collection points in time, in the central business district (CBD) as well as in the low and high density suburbs. This has become a health hazard to the citizens and an environmental eyesore.

A blame game is at play between the local authority and Harare residents. Residents blame Harare City for poor refuse collection and argue this forces them to litter at undesignated sites. On the other hand, the authorities blame citizens for littering.

People are found throwing away empty bottles, plastics and food leftovers in the streets causing challenges in waste removal in the city of Harare.

Litter can cause a whole range of problems for everyone in the community. Because of this the municipality of Harare has to take action.
Harare Waste Management System needs serious rehabilitation, first on an emergency basis, followed by development and implementation of long term sustainable measures.

Earlier this year however, the Acting Harare City Mayor, Councillor Musarurwa Mutizwa revealed that council was financially incapacitated to collect garbage on time and appealed for assistance from the public. He alluded to defaulting ratepayers as another hindrance towards service delivery.

“Government has already come on board and provided us with ZWL$438 million towards re-capitalisation of waste management equipment.

“… all customers need to play their part – with residents and corporates paying their bills.

“Failure to pay over the years has gotten us to where we are today. Council is owed over ZWL$7,8 billion which if paid today, would go a long way in addressing the sticking service delivery areas,” he said at the time.

The Environmental Management Agency’s mandate is to ensure that every citizen enjoys their right to a clean and safe environment that is not harmful to health. EMA encourages all local authorities to adopt effective waste management practices.

EMA has statutes that regulate litter, stating that it is an offence to discard or dump any litter at undesignated places.

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