The dictum- “Zimbabwe is open for business must be supported by a welcoming, clean, safe and healthy environment….” Around the world, waste generation rates are rising. In 2016 the world’s cities generated 2.01 billion tonnes of solid waste, which amounted to a footprint of 0.74 kilograms per person per day. Solid waste management is one of the key environmental challenges that is confronting many developing countries including Zimbabwe. Approximately, 1.6,5 million of waste is generated annually in the country. With rapid population growth and urbanisation, annual waste generation is expected to increase by 70% from the 2016 levels. By 2050, it is expected to rise to 3.40 billion tonnes.
In Zimbabwe so far, the composition of the waste is 32% biodegradable, 25% paper, 18% plastic, 7% metal, 6% textile, 4% medical and 2% glass. Most of this waste ends up as litter in open illegal dumps and wetlands where it contaminates surface and ground water. Multiple problems caused by waste has greatly exposed the general public to disease outbreaks and epidemics such as cholera and typhoid. Furthermore, the country’s image has been negatively impacted with road servitudes, towns and cities becoming heavily littered. There is therefore need for a holistic and all- inclusive approach to address the waste management challenge that has bedeviled the country for more than a decade now. To this end different sector players have been engaged to initiate sustainable waste management practices within their areas of influence. There has been a positive response with churches, business community and Government departments among other players taking a lead in addressing the waste management challenge. This was achieved through undertaking massive clean-up campaigns, donation of bins and adoption of areas for sustained maintenance.
The zenith of this stakeholders’ response will be the National Clean -up launch, which the President of the second Republic of Zimbabwe HE E.D Mnangagwa will champion. This presidential clean- up launch being spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry will see various sector players making a pledge towards sustainable waste management practises before the President. Such a move will make a milestone contribution, in fulfilling constitutional provisions as espoused on Section 73(1) of the constitution for the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being. As a build up to this launch a series of clean-ups have been lined up across the country and all Zimbabweans are invited to actively participate.