It is 8:30am on Wednesday and Kigali City officials are leaving for an inspection of the city to assess the state of environmental protection, cleanliness, among other things. The New Times was asked to accompany the officials; I took the gesture with big grins!
KCC officials have challenged the masses, especially in Karambo cell in Gatenga to wake up and clean their environment as a tour discovered more filth than expected.
The serenity of the city centre exuded a picturesque magnificence; we were seeing the clean and beautiful. Then we weaved through the hills to Kiyovu, Gikondo and then reached Gatenga...
It seems the city cleanliness was diminishing the further we travelled from the centre. We saw trash disposed of near the streets and we noticed some other dirty places.
Of course, the city officials were telling people there to pick up the rubbish as it is designated to be disposed of at the dumping site.
We continued and arrived at Karambo cell of Gatenga sector, near Mironko garage neighbouring
Magerwa. The filth in this area bespoke of an alien place. It was difficult to fathom this, too, was part of Kigali. Rubbish was strewn about and it seems neither the garage owner nor the passersby gave a hoot about cleaning the area.
Some parts of Kigali City are still appalling indeed! Despite sustained awareness drives, cleanliness by the Kigli City, or even fines, some people are still adamant to observe the city cleanliness laws.
"Seeing garbage strewn on public land is a shock for us, because it is not our culture. We have already started a three- month campaign to fix all related problems," said Alfonse Nizeyimana, Kigali City vice mayor in-charge of Economic Affairs.
On Mironko Garage place, Nizeyimana said the sector will organise community work to clean the area.
At Kimironko near the market, the officials found wastes of fruits disposed of on the road.
At Kimironko still, the officials visited a restaurant and found poor hygiene in the kitchen. A temporary closure was issued as the executive secretary of Kimironko sector was asked to ensure the proprietors upholds standard before reopening.
Measures in place
KCC has put in place different awareness programmes to improve Kigali cleanliness.
Nizeyimana said what is lacking for Kigali residents to maintain cleanliness is behaviour change.
"People have different personalities and behaviours. We shall continue enforcing our programmes to uplift them," he said.
Alice Nyirahabimana, a resident of Kimironko, agrees also that the problem is behaviour change and the local leaders often fail to enforce cleanliness campaign at grassroots level.
The city officials have urged residents to improve beautification by creating gardens near their homes. Officials said residents should also pave the surroundings of their homes so as to avoid dust and mud.