Managing urban waste: The need for civic education

The uncivic practice of littering explains why heaps of trash accumulate in major areas of our cities.

The bad consequences call for a change of mentality first through pedagogy and later through repressive measures.

Victorine Akenji Neh, an Environmentalist at the National Centre for Education – Yaounde thinks sensitisation needs to begin at an early age, that is, in primary schools.

She also thinks the media can play an effective role in sensitising the public.

The Environmentalist goes ahead to suggest that competent authorities put in place repressive policies through fines or insist that anyone who is caught littering will be forced to pick up the dirt.

On the side of municipal authorities, Mambo Tanya, a Specialist in Waste Management proposes, “Municipal councils or waste management companies involved in the pre-collection and collection of municipal waste need to increase the number of dust bins along the streets and within neighborhoods.”

Since some people litter the streets because they walk long distances before seeing a dust bin, Mambo Tanya suggests that dust bins should be placed within every 100m to 150m interval.

The Environmental Engineer also adds that estimates for waste generated daily, weekly and monthly within localities should be evaluated in order to determine what size of dustbins ought to be placed at each spot. This will help control the overflow of bins as well.

Another measure Mambo Tanya proposes to help raise awareness is the use of public notices around notorious areas.

These notwithstanding, it is incumbent on the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Civic Education to intensify civic education.

Cameroonians need to be taught their rights and duties including the need to keep the streets clean.

Eleanor Ayuketah Ngochi

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