18 February 2013

Zambia: Making Zambia Clean Huge Task

LUSAKA'S current cosmopolitan make-up with vast populations engaged in street vending adds to the local authorities' strain in garbage collection and disposal.

A casual glance reveals that mounting quantities of garbage mostly plastic which environmentalists describe as 'biodegradable'has worsened matters.

Lack of garbage disposal bins, public attitude and an unplanned sanitary disposal system in the central business district rounds off this mind-boggling perennial problem.

Getting to grips with this task means experts, the local authority and the public at the base of the disaster ought to harness their efforts if Zambia has to make inroads into the thick of the garbage problem.

At a recent Keep Zambia Clean campaign programme launch by Minister of Local Government and Housing, Emerine Kabanshi, it was established that it was time the country intensified solid waste management as an integral part of business operations.

This arrangement ought to be a business imperative rather than a mere social responsibility.

"It is for this reason that my ministry has embarked on a process of fostering functioning partnerships with various stakeholders," Ms Kabanshi stressed.

Stakeholders should make sure that Zambia is truly clean and healthy and the meeting is the beginning of that process of building of the process of building functioning partnerships.

Government believes in creating partnership with various stakeholders because the State knows this to be the best way of achieving better results.

It is clear that there is no area in any part of our country which is not under the authority system.

Therefore, all institutions are expected to work with local authorities in cleaning up and cleaning their surroundings.

Councils were directed to start enforcing provisions of the Local Government Solid Waste Management regulations, under Statutory Instrument No.100 of 2011, to encourage and promote compliance by producers of waste.

Similarly, councils that have not yet established Solid Waste Management Units and systems should immediately do so because this is a legal requirement.

All waste producers are required to use solid waste management systems established by the council in their areas of jurisdiction, or institute a solid waste management system by the council in consultation with the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA).

A "naming and shaming" approach by publicly advertising in the mass media of organisations and institutions that are generating solid waste without effecting mechanisms for managing it would be introduced.

It is a fact that most cities, towns, townships and public places are dirty and unhealthy, thereby posing a health hazard to the residents and visitors.

They are littered with all sorts of solid waste ranging from plastic and glass including bottles, empty sachets of opaque beer, used mobile phone scratch cards and various wastes that continue to be an eye sore to the general public and visitors alike.

It is the issue of the uncollected heaps of garbage, which are increasing both in volume and frequency of accumulation due to increased generation and indiscriminate dumping.

The make Zambia clean and healthy programme is for everyone living in, and visiting Zambia.

Therefore, every one must demonstrate a sense and of spirit of ownership to the programme by actively participating in its implementation as a matter of public interest.

Lusaka City Council (LCC) director of health Amos Musonda urged residents to desist from throwing litter anyhow to avoid heaps of garbage mounting in the city.

Mr Musonda said the council had already started clearing waste all over and is encouraging every citizen to keep Zambia clean and healthy by cooperating with the local authority.

Citizens have a tendency of throwing waste anyhow and this has contributed to a number of diseases like cholera, especially during the rainy season.

He said that any person who is going to report any firm or individual throwing waste around the city carelessly will be awarded KR5, 000.

Making Zambia clean and healthy should be everyone's lifestyle, and there is nothing more dignifying than doing just that.

Peter Mwanza a businessperson said the Lusaka City Council has not been collecting heaps of garbage around the city for many years now.

"The waste has stayed many months without being collected and who are they expecting to collect them?" Mr Mwanza asked.

Zambia is a tourist attraction and should not be embarrassed by visitors who came in the country because of increasing waste.

The council should have enough equipment to collect garbage in the area around and there is also need to improve the drainage system which has affected the quality of infrastructure.

Martha Mulenga said there is a huge task of making Zambian clean and healthy that calls for coordination of efforts by stakeholders.

To sum up the indaba, the Zambia Clean and Health Programme is a Government-initiated multi-stakeholder campaign programme aimed at making our surroundings clean in order to promote a healthy environment.

The programme is not owned by Government. It is a Government-led campaign programme under the Ministry of Local Government and Housing and covers a wide range of thematic issues which centre on the generation and management of waste.

It is evident that public places including townships have increasingly become filthy owing to non-collection of waste. This has included corporate organisations who have been generating waste at a fast pace while the collection rate has been slow.

It seems there is also need for massive investment in solid waste management systems to alleviate the rampant pollution which has affected both townships, the central business district various open spaces.

Solid waste management is an ongoing struggle that is being tackled at a time of maximum generation of waste in urban areas as earlier alluded to.

It appears that stakeholders now have to team up and intensify efforts in changing the tempo of garbage collection and improvement of the drainage system in Lusaka for other towns and cities to follow suit to kick-start the clean-up campaign.

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