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Press Statement: Media Blaming Vendors and Informal Traders for polluting the City

Woman Vendor

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA), is deeply concerned by an article that was published in one local Newspaper and reproduced in some media houses, seemingly shifting the blame on illegal waste disposal to vendors and informal traders, casting aspersions without providing an iota of evidence to substantiate its claims.

BVTA want to categorically state that informal traders are not entirely responsible to illegal dumping in Bulawayo and as an Association, we have been educating our members to exercise cleanliness in their areas of work as part of our wide array of training that emphasises on Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

We can be poor and appearing less of human beings, but we know that our places of work must be clean. Most of the people who read the article know that their brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and cousins are not filthy because they are vendors, they know that these people are working hard to fend for their families to live dignified lives albeit under very difficult economic conditions, abiding by the laws of the land.

BVTA has been observing ordinary citizens with nicely shaved hair, makeup clad on expensive clothes and perfumes throwing litter through commuter omnibus windows, buses or wantonly dumping litter in bus terminuses standing with their loved ones. We have seen a number of illegal dumpsites all over the city, across households, we see women and men on their two pieces and tacked shirts at night, on their gowns and sleeping T/Shirts in the morning,  clandestinely throwing waste across their homes ducking from the public view, all this cannot be blamed on vendors and informal traders. As a matter of fact, evidence at hand shows that most vendors clean their areas of trading before displaying their wares.

Some unscrupulous businesses have been discharging both solid and liquid waste into water streams crossing some townships and have a stench smell resultant from liquid and solid waste illegally disposed of in water bodies. All this cannot be blamed on vendors and informal traders, is it because this is done by formal employees that it is not made an issue or any outcry on far-reaching effects of these inhuman livelihoods and even other organisms particularly on environment protection? 

Garbage has been piling on street corners, a situation that has been blamed on the council’s failure to consistently collect refuse in most residential areas and the central business district. Rubbish from shops, vendors, pedestrians and commuters ends up being foraged by dogs and some people looking for recyclable materials. Some of the dirt is washed away by running water come the rain season; blocking the smooth flow of water in drainage systems. It is disingenuous to shift the blame to vendors and informal traders.

We pray for Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to regularly collect refuse to reduce piling of litter in the city. Moreover, while it is Bulawayo City Council’s duty and responsibility to dispose of litter, all stakeholders must work together to inculcate the culture of cleanliness that many do not practice in their homes and workplaces to ensure environmental sustainability. We also advise everyone to protect themselves and their families from coronavirus (COVID-19).

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