ENVIRONMENT minister Oppah Muchinguri has said the government has engaged the Joint Operations Command, to deal with the litter problem and also announced the arrest of an unnamed kingpin in the cyanide poaching of elephants in Hwange.
Officially launching an anti-litter campaign in Harare yesterday, Muchinguri said hefty fines would be imposed on litterbugs, while the Police, the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) and the Harare City Council have teamed up to effect arrests.
She said the government had tried to engage the public in clean-up campaigns, but efforts were being stifled by resistance.
The campaign dubbed My City My Pride will see individuals who dispose of litter at undesignated points being fined $20. Vendors, commuters and omnibus operators will also not be spared if found on the wrong side of the law.
Vendors have also been ordered to have litter bins and come up with monitoring teams that would be mandated to ticket all offenders daily, while all commuter omnibuses are now stipulated to have stickers that direct people to throw their litter in the bins.
Shop owners and restaurants will also be fined by inspectors of a taskforce comprising council, police and Ema.
“Starting January 1, all buses both long and short distance, should have bins and stickers directing passengers to dispose their litter in the bins because once they are caught on the wrong side they will be fined $20 each time.
Vendors should also do the same because we cannot keep losing tourism revenue because of people’s attitudes,” Muchinguri said.
“This affects our health and even the climate, as you can see it is not raining now. It is better for you to go out of business while our country remains clean.”
She lamented that drainages have been clogged with litter which ended up in rivers and dams.
Muchinguri said in six months they will start issuing fines to manufacturers of litter products such as kaylites, cans and plastic bottles.
Muchinguri said the interventions they have done together with members of the intelligence and other security organisations have reaped rewards in the fight against poaching.
Although she did not disclose a name, she said an elephant poaching kingpin had been arrested.
She said communities were also happy as they were being rewarded for tip-offs, while quotas have also been increased.
Muchinguri said staff members at organisations like the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority have also had their grievances addressed.