7 May 2011 – Giving the Southern Sudanese capital of Juba a much-needed facelift, the City Council, in coordination with UNMIS, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations, held a day-long cleaning exercise in the city today.
The campaign was aimed at improving health and welfare as well as beautifying the city, according to Principal Civil Affairs Officer and the Acting UN Regional Coordinator for South SudanSylvia Fletcher.
The programme drew over 200 participants from the UN family alone, including members of the military and police as well as civilians.
"We hope that this is not a one-off practice," Ms. Fletcher said. "I believe this will become a practice for all citizens and foreigners in Juba."
UNMIS lent four trucks and a front loader to the mayor's office to help transport garbage to assembly points before its disposal.
Abebe Andargachew, chairman of the Ethiopian Community Association in South Sudan, who mobilized over 50 Ethiopians living in Juba, said such a public campaign was part of his duties back home.
"This is not the first time we are doing the exercise," Mr. Andargachew said. "We were doing this back home, so we are doing it here (as an example) for the southerners."
Juba Mayor Mohammed Al-Kaji Luala said that launching the cleaning exercise was on the agenda ahead of a reception planned for the new Republic of South Sudan on 9 July, when the region becomes an independent state.
But he added that Independence Day should not be overemphasized in the exercise, as he wanted to see the tidying up campaign become a lifelong programme.
"Juba is so dirty," Mr. Baballa said. "If Juba is to be amongst the cleanest cities in Africa, the cleaning should continue throughout our lifetime." He added that the campaign was meant to better the city's health.
Cleaning up during the campaign at Customs Market where he works as a vendor, Peter Laat Moses said he was involved to rid the area of flies, which carried diseases.
The Council had issued local orders prohibiting littering, said Mr. Luala. "If anyone throws a plastic bottle she/he is fined with 200 SDG (Sudanese pounds - $75) or she/he is sent to prison for a fortnight or for a month."
The Council had asked each taxi to carry a small dustbin. "From next week, we are going to check all the buses so that any bus that does not have the dustbin is fined," the mayor said, adding that he expected Juba to be clean, green and beautiful like Nairobi and Kampala.
Once collected, the garbage is dumped far away from the capital.