It is with great excitement that I welcome you, Rt. Hon. Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima, Vice President of the Republic of Malawi, to Blantyre City and in particular, to Ndirande Township your getto home as you always like to say.
Rt. Hon. Vice President, we, the Blantyre City residents, are very excited with the launch of National Clean-up Day initiative because residents will be reminded of their right and responsibility to clean environment.
As you may recall, Blantyre City Council reintroduced Health Week and Clean Premises Competition in 2017 which are annual events to bring awareness to the residents to take care of their environment.
These initiatives lacked political commitment at a higher level and the launch of National Clean-up Day could not have come at the right time than today.
Despite the efforts by Blantyre City Council, some residents do not see the need to have a refuse bin so that they dispose their refuse indiscriminately.
This practice, Right Honourable Vice President, contributes to the sorry state of our rivers because refuse which is indiscriminately disposed finds its way into the drains and rivers.
Furthermore, some residents do not have sense of responsibility as they litter anywhere, be it on the road or park.
From time to time motorists throw waste out of the windows of their cars without giving a thought that they are polluting the environment.
Right Honourable Vice President, the problem of thin plastics is still in our midst despite Government’s ban of the same. The hazards associated with thin plastics cannot be over emphasized.
The City is experiencing rapid urbanization which is putting a constrain on the environment as some residents resort to building in fragile areas and wanton cutting down of trees in our hills and forests.
As a country we have very good laws that can ensure conservation and good management of the environment. However, it requires concerted efforts to curb the malpractices which pollute and destroy the environment.
Right Honourable Vice President, despite the efforts by Blantyre City Council to ensure a clean environment for all, it is constrained by inadequate resources.
For example, our fleet of refuse collection vehicles is old and way below the required numbers. We do not have compacting equipment which is very crucial in good waste management particularly at the dumpsite.
Furthermore, our sewer network is old and suffers frequent vandalism. The wastewater treatment plants are also old and were put up in the fifties when the population was very small.
To have a sustainable waste management system, Government should assist Local Councils as infrastructure requires heavy capital investments. Government should consider establishing an Environmental Fund which should be accessed by Councils in cleanup activities.
The National Clean-up Day will make all of us agents of change that will result in a better, cleaner and healthier environment for us and the future generation. Rt. Hon, Vice President, there was need for activities that involved everyone in regular cleaning of the environment and conservation of natural resources.
Allow me to appeal to all the people that are here to continue working within their communities specifically to encourage neighbours, friends, workmates to understand the role they can play in protecting the environment and conservation of natural resources. This should not just be today but our way of life every day.
In conclusion, allow me Right Honourable Vice President, to publicly appreciate the support we receive from various partners. In particular, let me thank the following organisations that have supported the Clean Up Day launch; Key Waste Management, WASTE Advisors, Water for People, Hygiene Village Project, Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy and Universal Industries limited.
With these remarks, once again, welcome to Blantyre City Right Honourable Vice President.
I thank you for your kind attention