Mzuzu mayor William Mkandawire has warned the green city could become the worst crap-town in the country unless residents start taking responsibility of the litter they keep churning out.
The mayor was speaking when he led members of First Lady Gertrude Mutharika’s Beautify Malawi (Beam) initiative, vendors, city dwellers and Malawi Red Cross Society in cleaning up the city’s streets, central market and Mapale Health Centre.
The clean-up was part of the World Environmental Day commemorations launched by President Peter Mutharika on Monday, but piles and spills of garbage battered the face of the city.
However, the most widespread trend included sights of people dumping residues in the shadow of empty refuse bins, with others throwing degradable cast-off in those meant for glasses, plastics and other inorganic matter.
Mkandawire said: “Mzuzu prides itself as the ‘ever-green city’, but the beauty of its vegetative cover will be nothing if we keep dumping unwanted material anyhow. Both residents and visitors must learn to use refuse bins appropriately.”
Construction of a refuse bank at the city’s largest market by the Local Development Fund (LDF) has heightened the need for mass awareness on use of bins and sorting of waste.
Equally pressing is the construction of Msilo Waste Management underway on the northern margins of the city which is designed to enable city dwellers and entrepreneurs to reduce, re-use and recycle unwanted material.
Beam regional director Carol Mfune urged Malawians to always ensure their homes and surroundings are spotlessly clean.
Poor sanitation and hygiene costs the country about K8.8 billion (about $12.7 million) annually, according to the Water and Sanitation Programme of the World Bank.
Almost $12 million is spent each year on health care, especially treating diarrhoeal diseases-including cholera which resulted in devastating outbreaks in Karonga and Nkhata Bay whose transport corridors connect with the Mzuzu City. n