Lilongwe — Residents of Lilongwe have been challenged to observe their role in keeping the city clean and not dump the responsibility on the city council alone.
The call was made by Mayor for Lilongwe City Desmond Bikoko during the launch of the 'Keep Lilongwe Clean and Green Campaign' at Mbvunguti Primary School in area 25.
In the campaign, once a month; residents of Lilongwe City led by their responsible ward councilors, are expected to be engaging themselves in clean up exercises and planting trees within their localities with the aim of keeping the city clean and beautiful.
"This is an initiative of keeping the city clean, which is a responsibility of everyone. That is why this campaign is focusing on taking this responsibility into the hands of the city's residents whereby we want them to be highly involved in keeping the city clean.
"We are dividing the city into 27 wards whereby in each area and on a weekly basis, a responsible councilor will take the leading role to involve the communities in keeping the city clean. LCC will only take the leadership role," said Bikoko.
Bikoko added that the campaign also intends to involve businesses operating within the city in keeping the city clean.
He said within the city, there is the central commercial area where the business community operates from. According to the mayor, the campaign intends to ensure that small premises are kept clean and also encourage residents to plant some trees to make sure Lilongwe City looks green.
The mayor then reminded the city residents that there is a law called 'Polluter Pay Principle' which says the cost of disposing waste is the responsibility of the one who was disposing that waste.
He however said the PPP should not be confused with the city rates as the latter means paying tax to the local authority.
"Next year if all goes well, we intend to outsource refuse collection but that cost should be borne by the residents. If you want to dump your waste, you are going to pay a fee to get it to the appropriate place.
"If you do not want to pay, then you will have to keep it to an appropriate place for dumping," said Bikoko.
He revealed that the launch was done at a primary school for a purpose.
"School children will play a vital role. In five years from now they will be adults, so they have to learn at a tender age to be responsible in managing waste. So we wanted to empower them so that they do not count on government alone but they should take part in managing waste," he said.
Deputy Ambassador to China, Wenbing Chen who was present during the launch said Lilongwe is a beautiful city but the city could add on its beauty if residents join hands in keeping it clean.
He pledged his government's support in efforts aimed at keeping the city clean and green.
During the event, four Chinese businesses including Jia Bai Lee and Wullian shop donated K500 000 each towards the Mayor Development fund. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Lilongwe also donated K2 million.
In his remarks, German Ambassador to Malawi, Jurgen Borsch said: "The best way of waste prevention starts with waste management.
"Let us not be shy or lazy in keeping this city clean, let us not litter bottles around. We are around one million people in the city and if we all participate, we will have a clean city," said Borsch.