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Updated: Nov 6, 2021

On a normal day in Lilongwe, you cannot move 100 steps without stepping on a food wrapper or an empty bottle. You bump into poorly disposed of litter almost everywhere, the roads, outside shops and offices or empty fields. You cannot travel from one area to another within the city without seeing someone throw an empty bottle, or a food wrapper outside a moving vehicle or just anywhere as they are walking. In other cities the case might be different in a way that it could be worse than this. Overflowed waste bins decorate our markets and bus depots and no one really cares.

Our country’s concern with these levels of uncleanliness arises only during the rainy season because that’s when we face the adverse effects of uncleanliness, an outbreak of diseases like Cholera, dysentery and more. With the coming rainy season things are bound to get worse, and the cases of cholera are bound to escalate. There cannot be a quick fix to uncleanliness, because you can’t expect people to suddenly adhere to sanitation measures only during the rainy season. The few waste bins we have are too small and easily overflow, on top of that we don’t even use them properly , we recycle on a very small scale and we don’t have any long-term solution to waste management.

For some reason, Initiatives intended at keeping our cities and environment clean over the past years have miserably failed. Take for example, beautify Malawi, a very good initiative which if taken seriously would have transformed our cities and the country as a whole. The very little that was achieved by the initiative we have failed to sustain. During the rainy season, the wastes clog our our drains, contaminate our rivers, and flood our markets. When that happens everyone suddenly becomes appalled with our levels of uncleanliness.

If we set ourselves to be a clean country, we can achieve it. It all begins with a mindset change. People should be sensitized that it is not right to throw an empty bottle or food wrapper just anywhere because someone else will clean it up. If there ever will be other initiatives similar to Beautify Malawi, the implementation process and methods should start from point zero to ensure their success and sustainability. We need serious campaigns which will work towards sensitizing people starting from grassroot level. Cities should be provide with enough sanitation materials, and strict measures have to be put in place and adhered to.

We all need to be responsible citizens .As we wait for the government to do something about it, individually we can do our part too by properly disposing of waste, recycling and observing other sanitary measures.

Litteracy: The ability and having knowledge, ideas, innovation and initiatives of how to deal with littering behavior-Collins dictionary

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