Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO
TO SAY the border town of Chirundu is slowly turning into a de facto dumpsite is certainly not an exaggeration.
This inference is drawn from the fact that travellers, especially bus commuters, have resorted to indiscriminate disposal of their litter at the border post.
The garbage, mostly from buses that arrive at the border and from nearby restaurants, is so conspicuous just outside the border wall fence that it is not just a menace, but also an eyesore.
Next to this horrible site are high-cost houses for the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and immigration staff.
The dump site has even invited hundreds of baboons that roam the area from the nearby park in Zimbabwe and harass residents and travellers.
Sadly, the local authority, Chirundu Town Council, and border authorities that include the immigration department and ZRA have lamentably failed to put up bins for this garbage and engage a company to pick it up at least twice a day for disposal at the designated dump site.
It is unimaginable that the council collects levy from trucks and buses but has failed to manage the waste, which is becoming an eyesore to the travelling public and local residents.
It is equally unimaginable that ZRA has no capacity to hire a waste management company at Chirundu, one of the country’s busiest borders, where it rakes in millions of Kwacha.
The seriousness of the matter, which hinges on the cleanliness and health status of the country’s foremost one-stop border post, places a premium on all players [the council, immigration and ZRA, including some clearing agents], to find a lasting solution.
About 12 luxury buses and 200 trucks enter the border on a daily basis.
The gravity of the waste suggests that it can no longer be business as usual.
Government played its part by constructing a modern border facility, but the institutions operating there seem to only pay attention to their core businesses and ignore this garbage sore.
Institutions operating in Chirundu have a duty to clean up the immediate surroundings and help to meet the noble objectives of the ‘Make Zambia Healthy and Clean’ campaign.
It perhaps would be prudent to make keeping a clean surrounding part of appraisal for managers and not just meeting objectives of their core businesses.
This will help to raise awareness and commitment to keeping the environment clean.
Concerned residents have raised alarm with the council over the deplorable state of the environment but there has been no corresponding improvement.
What is appalling is that while the Zambian side is stinking filthy, the story on the Zimbabwean side is the complete opposite, It is sparkling clean and orderly.
It probably speaks volumes about the laxity by authorities on the Zambian side.
As soon as they enter Zambia after being cleared on the Zimbabwean side, they see a proverbial ‘huge dump site’ and begin to unleash all the rubbish on our territory.
That is how care-free our country is and that is why it has become a dumping ground for the trash from other countries.
The Chirundu local authority should come up with by-laws that will deter litter-throwing passengers and the bus crew from turning our border town into a dumpsite.
The laws should be stiff enough to ensure maximum deterrent value.
Let us Keep Chirundu ‘Clean and Healthy’ and maintain its sanctity. There is a number of imperatives to cleanliness that include reduced disease prevalence. Above all, cleanliness is next to Godliness.
The author is editorials editor at the Zambia Daily Mail.