Environmental management advocates say the National Clean-up Day campaign President Lazarus Chakwera launched yesterday should target industries which tend to trigger pollution in the country with impunity.
Environmental consultant Robert Kawiya, Movement for Environmental Action (MFEA) interim leader Matthews Malata, Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy (Cepa) programme manager Gloria Kamoto and Parliamentary Committee for Natural Resources and Climate Change chairperson Werani Chilenga welcomed the campaign, but stressed that industrial pollution should be tackled.
The President launched the day yesterday at Chinsapo Ground in Likuni, Lilongwe at a ceremony attended by Vice-President Saulos Chilima, diplomats, legislators and environmental managements advocates.
The campaign urges Malawians to sweep and clean their homes, workplaces and other community surroundings ever y second Friday in a month.
Kawiya said although industrial pollution is a menace that endangers many people in cities and other urban centres, the challenge can be stamped out easily and effectively if technical officials such as environmental inspectors and officers perform their work effectively.
“ If cities and municipalities entertain industries which polute the environment with abandon, it means the city councils and municipalities concerned are sleeping. Their technical officers should put a stop to
such a dangerous mess,” he said.
Malata, on his part, s aid the campaign will complement the new National Waste Management Strategy, particularly if another strategy is spelt out on how to involve the private sector and also how the Malawi Environmental Protection Agency can punish environmental crooks.
“My fear is that after the launch everybody will go to sleep, drawing no impact. This should not be the case,” he said.
Kamoto hoped the campaign will bring a mindset change where all citizens will consistently avoid being polluters of the environment.
Citing thin plastics, she said most of the citizenry are guilty of using these banned products which pollute rivers, lakes and other water bodies.
“We all need to utilise the campaign to assist our communities. We cannot leave these challenges to the government alone,” Kamoto said.
Chilenga, a member of Parliament (MP) who previously served as minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said there will be a greater impact if hotels, lodges and institutions near polluted lakes and rivers collected thin plastics and plastic
containers in the water bodies.
He said it was ironic that when the President launched the campaign at Chinsapo yesterday, he was near many illegal structures such a s secondary school, a market and a graveyard.
During the launch, the President, First Lady Monica Chakwera and Chilima were dressed in work gear, including dust coats, helmets, gloves and gum boots. For at least 10 minutes they set out to work, each clearing and shovelling waste into wheelbarrows and taking the same to a nearby waste skip.
The practical lesson at Chinsapo sunk home and attracted cheers among hundreds who witnessed the campaign’s launch.
In his address, Chakwera said through the special day, he wants Malawi to be transformed into a much cleaner nation where pollution is not tolerated.
He commended some cottage industries which are turning waste into fuel briquettes and gas, stressing that his government will assist such innovation that must trickle down to needy rural community members who should earn income from it.. Waste management is a challenge in the country, especially urban areas where city councils struggle to collect refuse. Further, most rivers in cities are polluted by industries, posing a threat to people using the rivers for household chores