Today, transportation and mobility of people are fast becoming an integral part of development, especially the business community travelling from the countryside to the city to buy merchandise. At bus and taxi parks, the frequency of departure has increased to an extent where a bus leaves a stage every hour.
Naturally, during long-distance travels, there is a tendency to eat and drink. And this comes with waste generation. The big question is, how do passengers in transit dispose garbage? Two obvious answers come up. Rubbish is either left on the bus or thrown out through the window, making the environment filthy.
If our environment is to be preserved, we must take steps to ensure rubbish and other forms of waste are disposed in the safest possible way. Managers of buses, taxis and public access places such as schools, hospitals, churches, markets, among others, should endeavour to manage waste generated within their premises in a way that promotes good environmental sanitation.
At the moment, this is not the case with many buses and taxis. When we travel by public means, we are subjected to very filthy buses/taxis. Passengers generate garbage and dispose it in the bus/taxi. This is detrimental to public health and safety. You find maize cobs, meat (muchomo) sticks, empty water bottles, empty boxes, banana peels and all sorts of rubbish that has been generated while travelling scattered in bus aisles. In addition, passengers also buy poultry and fish and keep them under seats, which contribute to more filth.
Managers of buses, taxis and places accessible by the public should collect garbage they generate, or provide a means of collection of all rubbish, and solid waste from within their premises. Garbage consisting of polythene bags, water bottles, boxes and plastic bags litter the environment, making the work of waste management organisations difficult. Current waste management and disposal practices are ignoring a very pertinent aspect of ensuring proper waste collection, separation and safe disposal. Instead, drainage channels have been used to dispose waste. This is evident in the amount of plastic bottles and polythene bags that are removed from drainage systems during de-silting.
This could have been avoided by ensuring that garbage is properly collected, stored, separated and disposed in a manner that does not pollute the environment. All areas that are accessed by the public should be protected by ensuring that public places have garbage bins.
The use of recyclable bags should be encouraged to reduce the quantity of polythene bags. There should also be a charge levied on every polythene bag supplied from a shop or supermarket to encourage the public to conserve the environment.
Simon J. Mone, Civil engineer,