Juba deputy mayor urges residents to engage in keeping city clean after UNMISS campaign

unmiss juba clean-up campaign

UNMISS staff contributing to keeping Juba clean.

2 Sep 2019

Juba deputy mayor urges residents to engage in keeping city clean after UNMISS campaign

Beatrice Mategwa

Equipped with shovels and broomsticks, some 800 national and international peacekeepers deployed along one of Juba’s main city streets on the weekend. Their efforts resulted in a whopping 1,700 garbage bags being filled, destined for the capital’s main dumpsite.

“As a national staff, I feel good about this because it is my town and my country. I feel happy to offer my services and to make sure the city is clean,” said Sandy Mary Raphael, working for the UN peacekeeping mission’s Mine Action Service.

Wearing protective gloves, and watching out for on-coming busy traffic, the uniformed and civilian personnel inched along a planned six-kilometer stretch, picking up plastic bottles and other rubbish as they went along. As indicated by the final "harvest", there was no shortage of litter.

“Managing garbage is important for human health. We are trying to make sure that we contribute to the city’s cleanliness to prevent diseases and environmental pollution,” said Thierry Tremblay, Chief of the Environment and Compliance Unit of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.

This was the peacekeeping mission’s second major clean-up campaign, borrowing from Rwanda’s Umuganda tradition, which typically sees a handful of shopkeepers step out to sweep an area outside their premises.

Joining the peacekeepers, Head of UNMISS David Shearer, speaking alongside the city mayor and his deputy, praised the efforts of the peacekeepers.

“It is very important that we are not just seen to be driving around in cars, but actually working with and helping the people of South Sudan,” said David Shearer, head of the UN mission, who also took part in the operation.

Juba’s mayor and his deputy were also present and engaged in picking up litter.

“All of you should come out and join us. It is not our [the mayor’s office] responsibility alone, nor the responsibility of the UN,” said deputy mayor Thiik Thiik Mayardit as he pleaded to curious onlookers to not just sit there and watch the action.

He added that the City Council will hold neighbourhood meetings to educate citizens on their responsibilities when it comes to keeping Juba clean.