Logistics firm DHL International (Malawi) and communities around Zalewa Trading Centre in Neno on Saturday stepped forward to clean the waste that robbed the trading centre of its beauty.
DHL staff and various stakeholders from the community swept the section of the M1 from the Puma Filling Station to the roadblock. They also swept the market parking area and the grounds behind Zalewa Police Unit.
In an interview, DHL commercial manager Ntaja Mtandaza said the clean-up was part of the company’s going green initiative. He expressed hope that the initiative will benefit both the local community and the nation at large.
He said his company organised the clean-up to keep the communities living on the banks of the Shire River from dumping their waste in the river.
“The Shire River is the most important river in Malawi and we thought of demonstrating to the people living along the Shire River to support them in taking care of this resource,” he said
Mtandaza said they donated four refuse bins as a way of teaching the community how to dispose their waste properly. DHL also involved stakeholders in the communities to ensure that the community keep the place clean .
“We have worked with opinion leaders. We have got chiefs, the police, officials from the council, so that the people can follow what the leaders are doing in the area,” he said.
Elias Limited, who represented group village head Zalewa, said the clean-up will give the trading centre a nice and clean look befitting an entry point into a district.
“Taking care of a place like this one will help prevent diseases. This place is a passage for many people, including international visitors,” he said.
Zalewa Police Roadblock/Unit officer-charge Israel Chalira said the law enforcers identified clean-up champions selected from the community who ensure that the standards are maintained.
“The clean-up champions will be monitoring the situation so that everyone disposes the waste in the dustbins that have been donated to us by our friends from DHL,” he said.
Tikondane Care Group vice-secretary Rudo Nkhoma said as an organisation that fights against child marriages and defends sex workers’ rights, the clean-up was in their interest considering that their target group is equally affected by environmental problems.
“We encourage the girls to take care of themselves and take care of the place where they are plying their trade,” she said.
On his part, Neno acting environmental district officer Charlotte Nema Limbe said cleaning up Zalewa is in line with the district’s core value of keeping the district clean and safe through proper waste management.
Limbe notes that Zalewa is a busy trading centre and it’s cleanliness has a bearing on the hygiene of the whole district.
“If you come to Neno, the first place that you reach is Zalewa. When you see Zalewa clean, it will register in your mind that you are entering a clean district and you have to ensure that you keep it clean,” she said.
Limbe notes that Zalewa’s waste management has a bearing on the condition of Shire River. She described the clean-up as “a major milestone in the mindset change of the people of Zalewa not to use the Shire as a dumpsite.”