Indiscriminate disposal of waste and open defecation taking place in most villages in the North East posed threats to the environment thereby blighting tourism prospects on the district. North East District Council (NEDC) chairperson Flora Mpetsane told a full council session which ended last Friday in Masunga that open defecation at heritage sites such as Domboshaba ruins deterred tourists and potential investors. “Dissuasion of tourists and potential investors have resulted in enormous loss of economic revenue for the North East District,” lamented Mpetsane, who is also the councilor for Matsiloje village. According to Mpetsane, the area has immense tourism space for creating wealth and socio-economic development, saying indiscriminate disposal of waste is adversely impacting on the potential of the district. “The practice (of indiscriminate disposal of waste) poses threat to us as residents of the North east District including our livestock not to mention polluting the environment,” said Mpetsane. Mpetsane said illegal dumping of waste in the peripheries of build-up areas such as Masunga, Matshelagabedi and Tatisiding persists unabated.
Therefore, Mpetsane urged civic leaders in the NEDC to impart knowledge to their respective communities on the negative effects of dumping waste indiscriminately. She added: “The unpleasant appearance of our households and general environment does not reflect well on us, as you are aware that our district serves as a gateway route for various tourism destinations in the country.” The North East serves as a gateway to the pristine flora and fauna infested regions of Ngamiland and Chobe. A number of tourists pass through the northeastern region, as they traverse the breath and length of resort northern Botswana. According to the recent World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report, contribution of tourism to the country’s GDP was 12.7 percent in 2016 and is expected to increase though there has been a substantial fluctuation in the past years. It is against this inspiring contribution of tourism to the country’s tourism to the GDP that Mpetsane encouraged councilors to take every opportunity to advocate for cleanliness through forums. “Create awareness and sensitize our communities of the importance of keeping our environment clean at all times,” quipped Mpetsane.