By Kay Kaseke

Quarantining and lockdown have forced many to stay at home with factories and companies closing their doors. While these are necessary measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, this will ultimately result in the increase in household waste.

For Zimbabwe, this is the first time since the launch of the clean-up campaign that was introduced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and will not be observed in it’s usual way as the country is in lockdown period.

Normally Zimbabweans from all walks of life would all take part in the clean-up in their localities between 8am and 10am.

When the President declared the first Friday of each calendar month, the National Environment Cleaning Day in 2018, he had a dream to turn Zimbabwe into one of the cleanest countries in the world.

The move sought to ensure that the country had vibrant sustainable environmental management and waste disposal systems.

The clean-up has largely helped in conscientizing individuals and organisations on the importance of cleaning up the country.

Environmental Management Agency(EMA) Environmental Education and Publicity Manager Ms Amkela Sidange said although the country is gripped with ramifications of the novel COVID-19 the April National Clean Up day under the theme a clean environment for a healthy nation would be observed at household level.

“This calls for all citizens to take time to reflect on our waste management practices as a country, redefine them; and admit that a clean environment is essential for a healthy nation.”

Ms Sidange said that With the lockdown now in earnest in the country, and calls out for everyone to stay at home and be safe from COVID 19, there was a serious need to take time to clean up individual households.

“let’s therefore take time to clean within our households especially our back yards as from 0800 to 1000hours, this April National Clean-up day.” She said.

She admitted that waste generation at household level bound to increase during this period when the whole family is at home, hence the call to prioritize sorting of waste at household level so as to recover recyclable material and compost biodegradable material, and in the process reduce residual waste accumulating in the environment.

She strongly urged local authorities to take this advantage to clean critical areas in the Central Business District (CBD).

“The Agency would also like to urge local authorities to take advantage of the deserted Central Business Districts (CBDs) and other critical areas such as markets during the lockdown, to clear all dumps, empty bins, maintain a regular waste collection schedule and general sanitize those areas; among many other things that can be done to build sustainably clean cities and communities.”

She said the agency would always remain resolute in its efforts towards achieving a clean, safe and healthy environment, as provided for in Section 73 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“As we intensify our efforts as a country towards the fight against COVID19, it is imperative that we maintain a clean and healthy environment, hence encourage all of us to take part in creating a clean environment, and also stay safe from COVID19.

“Lets promote a clean environment for a healthy nation.” Said Ms Sidange.

President Mnangagwa at the previous clean up campaign urged Zimbabwean citizens to keep their household and personal environment clean.

Tendai Guvamombe