MINISTER of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka has called on the police and relevant agencies to deal with people who indiscriminately dump litter everywhere, to the detriment of the environment.
She was speaking in a speech read on her behalf by Chegutu District Development Coordinator, Tariro Tomu during a clean-up exercise in Norton this week.
“Littering and dumping (of refuse) are prosecutable offences.
“l appeal to law enforcement agencies like the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and Zimbabwe Republic Police as well as local authorities, through their by-laws, to ensure that litterbugs are prosecuted,” said the minister.
The proliferation of illegal dumping sites and scattered waste material has been noted in various towns and cities in the country, with pedestrians, passengers and motorists culpable.
This has contributed to disease outbreaks caused by vectors such as flies and mosquitoes.
The offence has also caused some flooding during rain seasons when some of the waste is deposited into drainage systems which go on to block the free flowing of water.
Mliswa-Chikoka also appealed to the country to punish those found violating environmental statutes.
“May l also make a special appeal to our judiciary to ensure that environmental offenders are treated the same way as any other offender, as often environmental offenders are let scot free,” she said.
The minister exhorted councils to collect household garbage timeously, particularly in high-density residential areas, sustainably and holistically dispose of it.
Government has realised that the greatest challenge in solid waste management is negative human attitudes and behaviour that lead to rampant littering and dumping of waste in undesignated sites.
Mliswa-Chikoka also urged local authorities to clear storm drains before the onset of the rain season in order to prevent clogging which leads to flooding.