Government is working on ways to introduce mandatory community service for anyone caught throwing litter on the streets, a Government official has said. Addressing delegates at a dinner hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate in collaboration with Maritime Waste Solutions last week, Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said mandatory community service was successfully implemented in Singapore, Tanzania and Botswana.
“Littering is a criminal offence and according to the Environmental Management Act, offenders will be brought to book. The fines for littering go up to Level 3 which translates to $20 and for illegal dumping they go up to Level 14 which is $ 5 000. Apart from charging fines for litterbugs, my ministry is working on ways to introduce mandatory community service for everyone caught on the wrong side. This is being successfully done in Singapore, Tanzania and Botswana and we will implement it here in Zimbabwe,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said littering and illegal dumpsites were an eyesore. “These have also contributed to climate change in Zimbabwe. “The primary source of litter in our cities has been pedestrians throwing unwanted materials on the streets, dumping of waste by shop owners and the discarding of waste by motorists through the window,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said waste should not be viewed as just a menace but an economic empowerment opportunity. “Most of what fills our bins and dumpsites is waste that can be recycled and converted into money,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri urged local authorities and corporates to invest in incinerators to produce solid refuse fuel to augment the current energy shortages the country is facing. “All that is required is to think outside the box, research and promote innovation. All local authorities should invest in biogas technology whereby methane gas generated from waste can be harnessed from properly engineered landfills,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri urged companies to be involved in the management of their products after consumption. “Manufactures and those who package their products in cans, plastics, paper and bottles should set up collection cages at strategic locations in and around the city centres, residential and industrial areas.
“Community-based organisations such as the Sunshine Group could engage communities to separate waste from their respective homes,” she said.-Herald