Proudly Zimbabwean Foundation, a business sector and community-driven initiative, yesterday unveiled measures aimed at helping local authorities deal with challenges such as litter, roads, water and transport.
Speaking during a CEOs' breakfast meeting to announce the initiative, foundation chairman Dr Joseph Kanyekanye said the foundation was seeking to get the business community involved in efforts to improve the state of the country's cities and towns.
"We are not attempting to replace city councils but we want to augment their role through finding ways to deal with the various challenges that they are facing," he said.
Dr Kanyekanye, who is also Allied Timbers chief executive and a Harare City Council special interest councillor, said the first initiative would be a five-phase programme, the BIN-it Zimbabwe programme, aimed at eradicating litter in cities, towns and other communities throughout Zimbabwe.
The first phase of the BIN-it programme will be centred on Harare's Central Business District under an initiative called BIN-it Harare.
Under the BIN it-Harare initiative, Proudly Zimbabwean Foundation and With Love Foundation would conduct a massive clean-up of the Harare CBD dubbed 'The BIGclean" on Saturday.
According to Dr Kanyekanye, they are seeking to mobilise 2 400 volunteers, including company CEOs, to take part in the cleaning of the area bounded by Samora Machel Avenue, Rotten Row, Simon Mazorodze Road, Kenneth Kaunda Avenue and Fourth Street.
"The aim of the clean-up this weekend is to promote an attitude of ownership and patriotism among Zimbabweans. The idea is that the city is ours and as ordinary citizens we should take a more active role in its advancement and maintenance," he said.
In addition, the Proudly Zimbabwean Foundation together with the Harare City Council has divided the city into 65 zones easch 500 metres long and is appealing to companies operating within the sections to adopt the stretches in front of their premises by providing bins.
At least 10 companies have already adopted 18 of the 65 sections. It is expected that 100 bins will be placed in the CBD within the coming week and an additional 350 will be in place by mid-February to bring the total to 450.
The bins will be followed by the appointment of litter monitors to ensure that people use the bins, and ensure that they are collected and cleaned by the Harare City Council.
Dr Kanyekanye said after the first phase, phases two to five would involve the rollout of the programmes to other cities and towns including an awareness campaign to curb littering. All the five phases are set to be implemented over four years until 2016.
The foundation expects that the litter collected will be recycled by separating it at source once an acceptable litter disposal culture has been cultivated in different communities.
"On completion of this programme, Zimbabwe will celebrate a robust and sustainable litter disposal culture that will support a recycling industry supplying green energy and products to the nation," said Dr Kanyekanye.
Speaking at the same event, Environment and Natural Resources Management Minister Francis Nhema hailed the programme and urged Harare residents and other citizens to support the initiative, especially through the maintenance of the bins that will be installed countrywide.
"I am appealing to Harare residents in particular and citizens of the nation at large to have ownership of these bins that are going to be installed. We should take care of the bins, they belong to each and every one of us as a community and they serve us all," he said.
Minister Nhema also commended the foundation for responding to his ministry's call for assistance to deal with mounds of litter that communities in both low- and high-density areas have been living with that have led to the outbreak of various waste and water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery.
"My ministry has been talking about these bad habits and doing its best to provide a safe and clean environment for all as mandated by the Environmental Management Act.
"We are delighted that all our preaching and actions have been reaching the right ears and various solutions on a number of issues are now being brought to our attention.
"Proudly Zimbabwean Foundation has come up with one of these solutions to the problem of litter that if implemented with the co-operation of everyone in this country will see our current problem of litter eradicated for good," he said.
Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda, who influenced the creation of the foundation, pledged the Harare City Council's support for the initiative.
He said the foundation should work with the council's environment management committee. He added that the Harare City Council was in the process of acquiring new refuse trucks that would result in each of the council's 46 wards getting one refuse truck.
Other trustees of the foundation include Mr Godfrey Pasipanodya (deputy chairman), Mr Dave Emberton (non-executive) and Mr Fungai Chiposi (executive).