THE government has challenged the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to consider integrating environmental issues into its urban planning and administration.
Speaking at a clean-up campaign in the city yesterday, Defense Minister Oppah Muchinguri said local authorities should play their part in preserving the environment.
“I want to encourage local authorities to respect nature, to consider the urban ecological environment as an asset and to integrate environmental issues into urban planning and administration,” Muchinguri said.
She said this could be achieved if the BCC sets policy direction to protect the environment and accelerate the transition to smart cities and sustainable communities.
Muchinguri also said that in addition to preserving the environment and building sustainable communities, reducing plastic pollution remains the government’s best bet to create a clean, safe and healthy environment.
She challenged the residents to also play their part.
“As communities, we can do our part to reduce plastics by rejecting and avoiding the use of plastic bags and paper as much as possible. Not only do they pollute the environment, but they also make landfills fill up faster faster than expected.
“Each year millions of dollars are spent on plastic packaging that ultimately end up in landfills against the zero waste to landfill program,” she said.
“Waste management infrastructure such as waste transfer stations, adequate bins and refuse collection vehicles should be available in all rural service centers and towns.
“Bulawayo should not be outdone in this trajectory. It therefore remains imperative to empower every district in the province and anchor inclusive participation in sustainable development,” she added.
Muchinguri applauded companies that have taken the initiative to set up recycling centers in cities, rural service centers and individuals who are promoting recycling in the country.
“These are indeed making a difference in our communities. It also remains a perfect window for this sector to enhance the brand of its business enterprises by promoting sustainable waste management practices and initiatives,” she said.