THE problem of air pollution continues to dog most parts of Harare as residents and companies burn litter and other things for various reasons. In most instances, residents and some institutional organisations resort to burning their litter because of lack of refuse collection.
However, environmental and city by-laws clearly state that burning for whatever reason is prohibited within residential areas and at business premises. As the City of Harare struggles to effectively collect waste, some ratepayers have been resorting to burning their rubbish. The backyard burning harms the environment as well as the health of communities. Residents with respiratory problems such as bronchitis and asthma are put at risk with this burning. Air pollution can also lead to some cancers as people inhale the smoke of harmful burning chemicals. The effects of air pollution are numerous to the environment as it can result in global warming, climate change, biodiversity loss, smog and acid rain.
This week Glen Lorne residents were complaining that a neighbour in the suburb has been burning old car tyres apparently to break rocks on their property since last week on Friday. The property owner was doing so without taking into consideration the harmful risks the burning would bring to neighbours, outsiders just passing through and the environment in general.
According to the Environmental Management Act, everyone has a right to live in a clean, safe and healthy environment. It is the duty of citizens to ensure that the right is upheld and we commend the Glen Lorne residents who brought up the burning at a property in the suburb.
The Environmental Management Agency makes it clear in its regulations that no one has a right to infringe on other citizens’ rights. In any case we all breathe the same air as our fellow countrymen and women, which makes it obligatory on our part to report fellow citizens breaking these laws. The environment must also be protected for future generations and this places a duty on the current generation to ensure we pass on a clean and safe environment to today’s youths and those still to be born.
A lot of illegal activities are going unchecked in Harare because even when some alert residents raise issue with these activities, the relevant authorities are unmoved to act and correct the anomalies. Glen Lorne is also said to be witnessing a number of illegal activities including and uncontrolled developments. These activities fall under the purview of the City of Harare and the municipality must just enforce its by-laws to deal with these matters. There is absolutely no excuse on the part of the local authority to fail to enforce by-laws.
The city has just announced that all property owners who have built houses or buildings without submitting plans and building inspections and went on to occupy them without certificates of compliance must regularise their properties or face demolition.
We hope this not just a revenue generation gimmick to fundraise for the broke municipality before the operation fizzles out. The regularisation must be undertaken to the full and those on the wrong side of the law must face the consequences to curb such malpractices in future.