By Chimwemwe Njoloma
Lilongwe, November 11, Mana: State President Dr Lazarus Chakwera on Wednesday joined Malawians at Chinsapo UNICEF Ground in Traditional Authority Malili in Lilongwe where he presided over the official launch of National Clean-up Day.
Organised under the theme, ‘A Clean Environment: My right, My Responsibility’, the event was aimed at promoting both organised and individual clean up events and volunteering to keep the outdoors clean.
Joined by the First Lady, Madame Monica Chakwera, the Vice-President Saulos Chilima, and other dignitaries, Chakwera arrived at Chinsapo dressed in a white protective helmet, white waste coat and white gumboots.
He participated in the clean-up exercise before he proceeded to the venue of the launch where he toured pavilions for waste recyclers and re-users.
Addressing the gathering, Chakwera said the clean-up day will be celebrated on every second Friday of every month and the launch means that every Malawian should commit to clean up their surroundings.
He said there is need for mindset change, saying people do not care for their surroundings to the extent that some ease within habitable premises. He said this creates bad odour which poses a danger to one’s health.
“This event is very important, so much that every person should take responsibility of their actions. Own your actions for your own sake and the people around you,” said Chakwera.
He said the responsibility of a clean city and a clean environment should not be left to the city council only because that mindset will never correct the wrong that is there where people dump their waste everywhere expecting the city council to clean up for them.
“As the theme suggests, a clean environment is the right and responsibility of every person. People dump their waste anywhere and everywhere.
“That is wrong and very hazardous to our environment. Soon we will completely stop the use of plastic bags and migrate to environmental friendly carrier bags so that we protect our environment and our lives,” he said.
On her part, Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources, Nancy Tembo thanked the president for the commitment towards protecting and building back the environment.
She said the launch of the initiative signifies a new beginning that will birth a healthy people and a prosperous nation.
“A clean environment means no sicknesses and that allows people to take part in developmental activities benefitting the nation and their individual lives,” she said.
Tembo said her ministry, the Ministry of Local Government and other line ministries commit to invest as much as they can to sustain the initiative, just like other countries like Uganda have been doing.
She called upon all Malawians to join hands and support the initiative, saying it will go a long way saving souls through prevention of diseases that come as a result of not practicing good hygiene.
She thanked partners like My Backs and Iman Investments which supported the initiative by providing resources used at the event and urged other stakeholders to support the ongoing initiative.
The event was also graced by notable figures like Ben Phiri of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and other party member followers all dressed in their party regalia.
In an interview, Phiri said he was glad to have joined the initiative which he said was not a political initiative but rather national building and national development.
He said a clean country means a clean people and that he thought of joining the president on the launch because the initiative will go through in their constituencies.
“We will have to carry the initiative through to our constituencies. You may want to appreciate as well that with COVID- 19, Malawians are adhering to cleanliness.
“If we continue like this, we are not only going to avoid cholera, but will prevent all diseases related to hygiene,” said Phiri.
He said that is why it was important for every leader to take the initiative seriously and drive the agenda to where ever it can go.
The Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources has set Friday, November 13 to launch the initiative at district level where ministers, deputy ministers and members of parliament will preside over the event.
Chakwera urged Malawians not connected to the electric power grid to consider using briquettes made from wastes and desist from using charcoal which promotes the cutting down of trees.