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Pilling Garbage, Littering Now the Norm in Zimbabwe Cities

Children sift through garbage at a dumpsite in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Uncollected garbage and littering have become an epidemic blighting Zimbabwe’s cities, including the capital Harare, paradoxically known as the Sunshine City.

Once esteemed for its orderliness and cleanliness, Harare’s sparkle has all but vanished under the lofty shadows of piling rubble and refuse.

And now one man is taking matters into his hands, calling on government to designate a national cleaning day, and urging members of the public to clean up their environs.

Buhera South Member of Parliament Joseph Chinotimba brought the issue front and center this week with a demo in Harare’s Mbare suburb where he picked up trash with his car near a school.

“This is a national issue, not only for the city of Harare. I am demonstrating; I am giving a sermon to everyone. Every MP, every citizen of Zimbabwe to look after the nation,” Chinotimba was quoted as saying.

Municipalities say they are hamstrung by the escalating economic crisis to carry out their mandate as residents are defaulting on their rates, including refuse collection fees.

Harare councilor Peter Moyo told VOA the accruing garbage is a time bomb that could explode anytime and cause diseases like cholera that government is not even equipped to tackle.

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A cholera outbreak in 2008 killed more than 4,000 people across the country, forcing the government to declare a national emergency and appeal for international aid.