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, minister of Defence Oppah Muchinguri said local authorities should play their part in preserving the environment.
“I want to encourage local authorities to respect nature, consider the urban ecological environment as an asset, and integrate environmental issues into urban planning and administration,” Muchinguri said.
She said this could be achieved if BCC sets a policy direction aiming at environmental protection and accelerating the transition to smart cities and sustainable communities.
Muchinguri also said in addition to preserving the environment and building sustainable communities, reduction of plastic pollution remained the government’s best bet towards creating a clean, safe and healthy environment.
She challenged residents to also play their part.
“As communities we can do our bit towards reducing plastics by rejecting and avoiding the use of plastic bags and paper as much as possible. They do not only pollute the environment but also speed the filling up of the landfills faster than expected.
“Every year millions of dollars are spent in plastic packaging only to ultimately find its way to the garbage sites against the zero waste to landfills agenda,” 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 left out in this trajectory. It therefore remains imperative to empower every district in the province and entrench inclusive participation in sustainable development,” she added.
Muchinguri applauded corporates who have taken the initiative of putting waste drop off centres in towns, cities, rural service centres 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 their business enterprises through promoting sustainable waste management practices and initiatives,” she said.