Managing urban waste: Street littering, a headache for Urban Council workers

In Yaounde and other cities in the country, empty packets of biscuit and sweets, empty bottles, papers and plastic bags are littered on the streets.

This is done by Cameroonians with the habit of throwing dirt everywhere when on board taxis and other vehicles and when moving on sidewalks.

This explains why council workers come out as early as 5:30am to invade the streets with brooms and trash cans.

Some Cameroonians wonder aloud why this wreckless behavior, saying it is unpatroitic.

“I don’t litter the streets firstly because I am a nation builder and secondly, I believe in a clean environment,” Junior N in Buea says.

Mireille Etane, a Yaounde city dweller reserves her trash in a plastic bag and dumps it in the nearest bin or when she gets home.

Many women keep their waste in their bags just like Mireille.

“I keep the dirt in my bag and sometimes forget, only to rediscover it after days,” Marlene in Buea says, giggling.

Since many men, unlike women, do not move with bags, they make use of the bin next to the gear box in vehicles to dispose of waste rather than littering the streets. This is what Egbe in Yaounde does.

The bad practice of littering, according to others, depends on the policy of cleaning put in place by the urban council.

“I will remain disciplined if the streets are also clean. The temptation to litter is high when the streets look dirty,” an unidentified young woman confesses.

With these, it is clear that street littering remains a major headache in urban areas in Cameroon.

Eleanor Ayuketah Ngochi

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