Citizens can now send complaints about rubbish to two WhatsApp numbers, a hotline and a website. The complaints will then be forwarded to all concerned parties and, hopefully, the rubbish will be removed.
Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli announced earlier this month that the cabinet had ordered the creation of a hotline to receive complaints from citizens about uncollected rubbish in their neighbourhoods.
As part of the campaign photographs of any offending trash can be sent via WhatsApp. The images will be then forwarded to the municipality authority responsible for rubbish collection.
“Trash has become endemic, it is everywhere. The government does not need to be told where to look and these new efforts are unlikely to solve the problem,” says Mohamed Abdallah, a government employee.
In low-income countries more than 90 per cent of waste is disposed of in unregulated dumps or openly burned, practices that have serious health, safety and environmental consequences, said the World Bank’s 2018 Solid Waste Management Report.
Ministry of Housing Spokesman Hani Younis said on his Facebook page that the prime minister will carefully monitor the responses of officials to citizens’ complaints concerning rubbish.
Complaints can be sent in a WhatsApp message to the following numbers: 015-5552 5444 and 015-5551 6528.
Alternatively, the hotline number 16528 can be called, or complaints registered on the website www.shakwa.eg.
The majority of complaints received so far are from Cairo, Giza, Qalioubiya, Alexandria, Sharqiya and Daqahliya.
Madbouli has ordered that each complaint be forwarded to the Cabinet Information and Decision Support Centre together with before, during and after the removal of the rubbish.
This is not the first time the government has attempted to clean up the streets. In 2017 it launched a scheme under which unwanted material such as aluminum cans, paper and plastic could be exchanged for cash.
Heba Al-Sayed, a housewife, is optimistic about the hotline, especially when it comes to side streets officials do not normally see. “Maybe it will help us have cleaner towns and cities,” she said.
* A version of this article appears in print in the 11 October, 2018 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline: Call for cleanliness