Getting rid of filthy streets

25 September 2019 | Local News

KENYA KAMBOWE

Hundreds of Rundu residents took part in this year’s national clean-up campaign and made a significant difference to the many litter dumping spots around town.

The northeastern town is infamous for its filthy streets and people dumping waste wherever they like.

It has been widely reported how the Rundu town council fails to collect waste despite people paying for the service.

The council does not have any rubbish trucks, nor does it have enough skips for people to throw their refuse into.

It moves the few existing skips from one location to another in an effort to contain the rampant dumping of refuse in open spaces.

But the town’s residents did not disappoint when the second national clean-up campaign was held in their town over the weekend.

Deputy minister of environment and tourism Bernadette Jagger, who launched the campaign at Rundu, urged the residents to keep their environment clean citing the economic benefits that can derive from a clean town.

“Rundu is a vibrant economic hub, tourist centre and regional capital, not to mention home to the pristine Okavango River,” Jagger said.

“Hence it needs to be kept free from waste mismanagement and littering. This will help to further attract businesses and tourists to the town and lead to an improved quality of life of the town’s residents.”

Jagger said the clean-up campaign was aimed at creating a society where all citizens take action to stop littering and to reduce, re-use and recycle waste.

Some local authorities, including Rundu, have instituted monthly clean-ups; something Jagger said should be an example for all local and regional councils.

“Local authorities in other countries have earmarked the last Saturday of every month to do clean-ups. Let us be innovative and adopt regular clean-up campaign activities so that we as a nation get to the stage where our homes, our streets and our workplaces are clean places which we can be proud of,” she said.

On the environmental damage caused by litter, Jagger explained that by littering people are indirectly affecting their own health.

“The bulk of waste generated in Namibia ends up in open illegal dumpsites, urban streams, in our rivers and in our ocean and deserts,” Jagger said.

“The sight of cattle and goats ingesting plastic bags and other forms of litter has become too common. When humans eat fish or livestock contaminated by plastic, the plastic nanobeads are absorbed through our digestive system, circulated in our blood and end up in our arteries, muscles, brain, joints and other tissues.”

Jagger said the environment and tourism ministry remained committed to enhancing education and awareness with regard to proper waste management and pollution control.

Jagger also cited the government’s decision to reduce the use or plastic shopping bags by imposing a levy that customers must pay at shops.

Rundu mayor Isak Kandingu thanked all the stakeholders, from the shops who donated refreshments and cleaning materials to the residents who took part in the clean-up campaign.

“The cleanliness of our environment should not be seen as a responsibility of the government alone, but should be a joint effort of all the inhabitants,” Kandingu said.

The mayor said the council would do its best to collect household waste despite the challenges hindering the implementation of the town’s waste management programme.

Rundu has an estimated population of 90 000 residents. Most of them live in informal settlements, which is one of the factors hindering effective service delivery by the local authority.

PIC 1

LEADING: Environment and tourism deputy minister Bernadette Jagger, Kavango East regional governor Samuel Mbambo and Rundu mayor Isak Kandingu take the lead during the national clean-up campaign.

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