Editor's Comment

Cleaning law progressive

FIRST Lady Esther Lungu cleaning in the emergency ward at the University Teaching Hospital during the Keep Zambia Clean, Green and Healthy Campaign yesterday. PICTURE: ROYD SIBAJENE/ZANIS

THE move by Government to present a bill to Parliament that will compel citizens to participate in the ‘Make Zambia Clean, Green and Healthy Campaign’ is indeed progressive and inevitable for the crusade to yield positive results.
In April this year, President Edgar Lungu re-launched the “Make Zambia Clean, Green and Healthy Campaign” with the aim of making cities, towns, villages, public institutions and other places clean to improve health standards for all citizens.
The re-launch of the campaign came with a directive that all forms of business and trading be stopped for three hours every last Saturday of the month to allow for massive cleaning of the country.
“Every morning during the last Saturday of the month from 08:00 hours to 11:00 hours, we are going to shut down the country, we are going to stop trading, we are going to stop all activities.
“On the last Saturday of the month, everyone is going to get together for three hours to clean up the country,” Minister of Local Government Vincent Mwale said.
Despite the directive backed by a statutory instrument to set aside three hours every last Saturday of the month to clean the environment, many residents have been shunning the exercise. While there was some momentum when the directive was just issued, it is disheartening that many of those who responded to the call have slackened back into a lazier faire mode.
As it is now, the campaign is being taken casually by most businesses and residents.
This is certainly a threat to the success of the campaign which seeks to maintain high levels of hygiene, thereby preventing diseases like cholera.
It is, however, commendable that Government is not sitting idly by and watching the campaign die a natural death.
To get the desired results from the ‘Make Zambia Clean, Green and Healthy Campaign’, Government is now proposing a law to compel all citizens to participate in the exercise.
This is indeed progressive and a more definite way of getting the desired results.
While one would think living clean comes as a natural responsibility, the state of affairs indicates otherwise.
In the midst of the clean campaign, we still have residents and business owners who keep their surroundings dirty and dispose of waste indiscriminately.
The law is, therefore, necessary to deal with any deviant behaviour negating the campaign.
It should, however, be noted that law without enforcement is as good as having a non-existent one.
It is, therefore, expected that when the law is put in place, it will be enforced to ensure compliance.
Failure to enforce the law should actually be punishable. Those charged with the responsibility of enforcing the law should be proactive and ensure that anyone who abrogates it is brought to book.
It is, therefore, hoped that with the coming of the law, local authorities will carry out periodic inspections of homes, business and other premises to ascertain levels of hygiene.
Those found wanting should face the wrath of the law.
On the other hand, local authorities should work with business entities to promote high levels of hygiene by providing adequate public toilets, bins and maintaining good drainage systems, among others.
It will be even more beneficial if all residents and business owners embrace a culture of clean living.
There is, therefore, need for mindset change among all citizens to embrace cleanliness and subsequently avoid coming into conflict with the law.
Lastly, it should be born in everyone’s mind that keeping our country clean, green and healthy is not Government’s responsibility alone but every citizen’s.

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