Daring the impossible: Team up to Clean up rewriting Mbare’s history

By Margaret Mikiri

A group of youths led by the Jesuit community in Mbare, have scaled up their efforts to rewrite the history of Mbare by educating and leading young people in waste management.

Mbare is one of the oldest and highly populated suburbs in Harare with several open grounds full of garbage. The suburb, which is a hub for all kinds of businesses is also popular for high crime rate and drug abuse by young people. Due to its high population, the environment is not as clean, culminating to series of outbreak in diseases like Cholera and Typhoid. 

Fr Isaac Fernandez SJ said, “We want to change the story of Mbare and get a different narrative. We want Mbare to be at the fore front, pioneering recycling techniques and new ways of waste management.”

“In our clean up, we are separating material and take organic material to the church for composting,” which will then be used to support other programmes like the school's aquaponics.

He further explained how the team is working on putting concrete slabs for refuse collection with the intention to turn cleaned sites into recreational parks.

In a recent clean up exercise which had over 200 youths, the Team up to Clean up Mbare was joined by members of the National Movements of Catholic Students (NMCS) and other youth groups.

More than 50% of the waste analysed from the clean-up was organic waste and this could easily be used in compost and or the New Bio Digestor in Mbare.

The exercise included Catholic and non-Catholic community members from Mbare and other areas. 
Speaking during the exercise, NMCS National President, Mr Tinotenda Wakabikwa said it is also the responsibility of the movement to keep the city clean and also to raise awareness to the people in Mbare and surrounding communities. 

Following the clean-up exercise, NMCS also launched a Committed to sustainable lifestyles”. Urging  youths to live a sustainable lifestyle this will benefit the future generations, as we encourage people to be committed to use less of plastic.

In recent developments posted on the group’s social media, Team up to Clean up Mbare announced that they are looking for a batch of Wax worms for experimental use.

Research suggests that 100 Wax worms can breakdown about 92mg of polyethylene (most common plastic) in just 12 hours and convert it to ethylene glycol which is an organic compound.

 “Turning to the role of the church in environmental issues, Fr Fernandez J said since ‘there are a few people concerned with environmental issues, the church must help people to realise that God has entrusted the environment to us and we are in the process of destroying it. The Church should promote recycling.


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