First Lady Madame Prof. Gertrude Mutharika says sanitation and environmental protection remains a major concern for Beautify Malawi (BEAM) Trust.

The First Lady was speaking on Thursday in Blantyre during the presentation of awards to winners in the Blantyre City Council Clean Premises Competition at COMESA hall.

Madame Mutharika said the competition conducted by Blantyre City Council was in line with the vision and agenda of BEAM Trust which strives to make clean both domestic and business premises through promotion of sanitation and hygiene.

“I am very proud to be associated with the campaign whose objective is to empower residents to own cleanliness of their premises and that of the iconic Commercial City of Blantyre,” the First Lady, who is founder and matron of BEAM, explained.

She commended Blantyre City Council (BCC) for its efforts of making the city clean and green, noting that the council has managed to decorate the streets with well tended flowers and functioning street lights which add to the splendour.

The First Lady described BCC’s initiative as a significant catalyst for the promotion of healthy living among Blantyre residents.

Mutharika expressed gratitude to learn that all residents were involved in the competition, noting that this would not only help keep the city clean and green but also complement BEAM’s efforts in general.

“It will not only impact on the appearance of the city, but also change the mindset of residents so that they have [a sense of] ownership of the city in keeping with BCC’s motto of ‘Taking the city back to the people,” she added.

Mutharika advised residents of Blantyre City and Malawians in general to embrace proper methods of waste disposal and not dump the waste in rivers to avoid pollution.

She appealed to BCC to continue with the efforts of maintaining high standards of sanitation.

Blantyre City Mayor, Councillor Wild Joseph Ndipo announced that the competition would be an annual event in an effort to continue recognizing well kept premises for others to emulate.

“We launched the campaign on May 5, 2017. From the onset it has received overwhelming response from residents. Now that we are coming to an end, we are satisfied that we have achieved our objective of promoting and enhancing cleanliness of the city and that of Malawi,” he added.

Keep Premises Clean Campaign was in four categories of best food and non – food companies, best government secondary and primary schools and private schools respectively, best clean shops as well as best residential houses in low, high and traditional housing set-up.

Competitors were identified by their ward councils through community development committees which looked at wall painting, flower arrangement, fruit trees, availability of toilets and drop- hole covers formed part of the criteria in identifying the winners, Chief Judge, Patrick Kamkwatira disclosed.

First winners in the top ten on each category went away with K200, 000, a certificate of recognition and a banner from BCC and BEAM respectively.

BEAM gave away additional prizes of heavy duty dust bins to the best winners and horse pipes to those on the second and third positions.

The competition saw Toyota Malawi, Castel Group (formerly Carlsberg Malawi), Bangwe Community Day Secondary School and Namiwawa Private School in the list of top ten winners.

Other winners included Timeline Electronics, Ntonya International Schools, St. Pius Girls Primary School, Chikakuda Phiri of Chilomoni, a Mr. Ndalama of Nkolokosa and a Mrs. Msimuko of Chilomoni – Fargo.