There are some garbage bins in Harare that display colorful adverts for Protector Plus condoms. Part of the advert reads, “What the smart guys are wearing”: a great message but what a pity that most of the bins are overflowing with garbage that hasn’t been collected for days. Just the other day, NewZimbabwe.com ran a story about the City of Harare failing to collect refuse in some areas. An official with the council attributed this to the poor tractors being used. Apparently they don’t have sufficient horsepower to pull the trailers that collect the refuse.
In an effort to clean up the City, the council in conjunction with the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and the police have said that it’s a crime for people to litter the streets. Anyone caught by the EMA will be taken to the nearest police station where they will have to pay a fine of Z$250. If a police officer has a receipt book then the offender can pay a spot fine.
While I think this is a noble idea, I have some reservations.
Surely the council should have first collected all the refuse in the city and placed refuse bins in as many places as possible before punishing people who do not place their refuse in the bins? And I’d also recommend that the authorities demand that commuter bus operators remove their bright bold stickers that read marara panze (which means throw your rubbish outside).
The Herald reported that 21 “litterbugs” had been arrested on October 19. I remember seeing some of the arrested people on the main news of our one and only national TV channel. The “litterbugs” all said they did not know that such a law was even in place. This suggests that the city should have carried out a nationwide educational campaign before ambushing people with laws that are signed and stored in their filing cabinets.
I notice that the Harare city authorities have put up numerous public notices indicating the clamping and towing zones but I guess “litter bugs” don’t bring in much revenue compared to those who just park their cars anywhere.
At the end of the day I think that we all agree that it’s time the smart bins stopped flowing with refuse and the smart guys wore the condoms.