By Priscilla Kumbambe
Universities are bastions of knowledge and apparently to demonstrate their knowledge on the evils of plastics to the natural environment, a grouping comprising staff and students based at the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) on October 31, 2019 cleaned the campus and surrounding areas of any plastic material.
Operating under the banner of MUST Society for Sustainable Ecosystem, the newly established grouping aims at promoting a pollution-free environment.
According to the Society’s spokesperson, Dr Emmanuel Vellemu, the clean-up exercise involved their members, colleagues from TRUSS, a company that is into recycling of waste including plastics, community members, students and staff members.
“We decided to take a stand against pollution at MUST and the surrounding areas in line with the recent ban of thin plastic papers by the Government of Malawi. As a Society we want to send a strong message to the public against usage of these plastics. We want to be the first public university in Malawi to take a serious stand against plastic pollution and waste management,” said Dr Vellemu in an interview.
He said the Society’s vision is to have a pollution-free MUST campus including its surrounding areas.
“This will help in having a disease-free environment and promotion of survival of organisms in the environment and water. During the exercise, colleagues from the TRUSS picked the waste that was collected for proper disposal,” he added.
Dr Vellemu further said everyone was free to join the Society but there is a minimum membership fee of K1,000 for a student per academic year and staff members are required to pay a minimum of K2,000 per academic year.
One of the community members that participated in the clean-up exercise, only identified as Mrs Jaza, described the initiative as great for both the students and the community members.
“With such clean-ups, diseases such as Cholera can be greatly prevented, especially if complimented by proper waste disposal. My suggestion is that we need rules and regulations on campus and the surrounding areas that would punish those that dispose waste without due regard to best practices,” she said.