Attired in a blue jacket and a grey short holding a filthy green sack on the right hand a young boy goes through a pile of garbage like a scavenger at Mbare Musika bus terminus. The odour from the garbage was so strong that one could smell it from a distance and probably would faint if one goes any closer. But to the surprise of many who were looking on, the boy carefully using bare hands searched for something without minding flies which were hovering over the pile like a disturbed army.
After a while, Tanatswa shouts for joy as if he has picked a gold ring from a pile of garbage. Surprisingly he was holding an empty cascade plastic bottle and seconds later he continued with his search.
After a while a food vendor Mike Chauke who operates in the rank started complaining about how the City Council had failed to consistently collect refuse at the terminus since it is the biggest terminus for travellers in Harare.
“This is sad the Council has failed us and now our children play in such piles of garbage exposing them to diseases. Even the air we now breathe is heavily polluted and we no longer understand some of the illnesses that befall us, it might be a result of the polluted air we breathe” Said Chauke.
The statement triggered debate amongst the vendors as some felt that the travellers and those who reside near the terminus had an ill culture of not using the metal huge bins properly. Sharon Mhora alluded to the fact that most residents and travellers were ignorant when it comes to the issue of using bins.
“True as it maybe that the Council has failed, at times we also need to look at the behaviour of most people who decides to throw litter on the ground. In most cases at the terminus one might find the bins empty but the garbage will be on the ground.” said Mhora
As this scene was not good enough approximately three hundred meters away a similar scenario got the attention of my lens .Three boys standing on top of a pile of garbage in a refuse metal bin. This seemed normal to the community as elders could be seen laughing and charting meters away.
Takudzwa Mawire (17) said “Though residents in Mbare have come with pressure groups and Litter monitors working in conjunction with the City Council and Environment Management Agency amongst other organisations in trying to create a clean environment, more needs to be done and individuals must first have a positive attitude towards cleanliness.”
“An unclean environment may also cause depression in people living near it, due to the stress brought by health issues. Hence we are the game changers as a community as we try to create healthy communities which is a true and valuable inheritance for future generations”.
After all had been said and done my heart still bleeds for the young innocent children who have found new form of toys and fun playing with garbage exposing themselves to possible disease outbreaks and society seems to turn a blind eye in serving these future champions.