MABELREIGN North Seventh Day Adventist Church on Sunday undertook a clean-up of illegal dumps on Westminster Avenue and Ridgeview Drive and also cut grass on the two roads.
The City of Harare has been failing to provide services such as refuse collection, grass cutting and road repairs leaving some residents in the northern suburbs to take matters into their own hands and fill in the gap left by the struggling municipality.
Mabelreign North Seventh Day Adventist Church communications secretary Mr Nelson Magombedze said members of the church and the community in Mabelreign took the initiative to fix things in their neighbourhood after realising the challenges crippling the City of Harare from delivering services.
Mr Magombedze said garbage collection is erratic in the suburb just like in most parts of Harare, which has been forcing some residents to dump their uncollected rubbish on open spaces in their neighbourhoods.
“There was a time when there were no collections so that’s why people were dumping garbage,” said Mr Magombedze.
He added: “As a church located within the community, we have seen the challenge along Westminster Avenue, the rubbish that was being dumped. It was now even difficult for cars to pass, the dangers of the rubbish and the health implications so we decided as a church to team up with the community. So we roped in the community to come and help us just to clean up. And we got a front-end loader to help us clear the garbage.”
Mr Magombedze said the church hired the front-end loader and church members donated about 150 black bin liners to bag the garbage.
He said they spoke to the City of Harare which agreed to collect the garbage on Wednesday this week.
Mr Magombedze said they used five grass cutters to clear the roadsides.
“We are up the road (Westminster Avenue) as well doing the grass cutting.
“We hope we will do Ridgeview Drive including garbage clearing,” he said.
Mr Magombedze said the church has engaged the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) to help raising awareness against illegal dumping of rubbish and its effects on the environment.
He said they have spoken to council on grass cutting and the municipality promised to continue from where they would have left off.
Mr Magombedze urged residents to practice cleanliness.
“Residents have a duty to clean up after themselves,” he said.
Residents who spoke to Suburban thanked the SDA Church for cleaning their community.
“It’s a good thing,” said Mr Idana, Mabelreign resident.
He said it has been long since council collected rubbish and cut grass in the suburb.
Mr Idana said the tall grass makes it dangerous for pedestrians and motorists especially at night.
Another Mabelreign resident said they are happy that Mabelreign North SDA Church were cutting grass on roadsides as it now makes it safe for school children who use the road while walking to and from school.
“School children were scared to walk along this road (Westminster Avenue) as we finish lessons around 5pm so it will be scary to walk along this road.
“They would use a safer route, so cutting grass is a good thing as we can now use a shorter route to get home,” said Mabelreign resident, Charity Tole.
Ward 16 Councillor Denford Ngadziore commended the SDA Church for the initiative to clean up the neighbourhood.
“This is a commendable move by the church and residents,” said Cllr Ngadziore.
He said door-to-door refuse collections will take place at a day to be advised.