Solid waste management solution Zambia

Lusaka City Council Unveils new solid waste management solution – Any policy which is aimed at coming up with solutions on how to manage waste in the country needs to be supported especially in this time and era of looming climate change.

Recently, the Lusaka City Council (LCC) developed colour code bins according to the type of trash.

Council assistant public relations manager Mulunda Habenzu said the local authority was carrying out a campaign to sensitise the residents on how to use more than one trash bin so that the trash may be separated from that which could be recycled.

He observed that currently, the country had only one system of solid waste management which was not profitable.

Mr Habenzu said under the current system it was difficult to separate waste because it was put in one bin.

Mr Habenzu said the practice would in turn reduce the environmental impact which could result in climate change in that, the large per centage could be used up in the value chain, a practice which he said the council was trying to encourage.

“Other countries are doing it, we can also gain from the very trash we dispose off and turn it into an economic venture,” he said.

There is also need for the setting up more recycling industries to help residents get economic benefits from the garbage they accumulate.

Habenzu said investors should take advantage of the garbage in the city and set up recycling industries.

“Investors should take advantage of the presence of garbage to set up recycling industries in the city. As a country, we should not look at everything to be a misfortune but an advantage to make money,” Mr Habenzu said.

But youths in the business of making baskets said the only way to promote the recycling industry in the country was for Government to provide funding for them to expand their businesses and encourage the people to use baskets instead of plastic bags to protect the environment.

They said this would help solve the environmental challenges being experienced in the country as a result of rampant use of plastic and other disposable bags that people use to carry items from the market.

The youths said Government should deliberately consider giving loans specifically to small-scale basket dealers for them to buy more materials.

David Phiri said Government should make a deliberate policy to encourage people making baskets so that they produce more if the issue of environmental degradation was to be addressed.

Mr Phiri said basket making was providing solutions in two ways, one was that some residues were being recycled instead of being dumped and reducing a lot on the effects on the environment while the second was that when people use the baskets few plastic materials could be offloaded on the environment.

“Other countries in the region are encouraging the use of permanent carriers like baskets as a way of avoiding environmental degradation by coming up with various innovations,” Mr Phiri said.

He said it was very difficult for the youths who do not have knowledge on how to write project proposals to access money through the Youth Empowerment Fund, adding that there was need for Government to carry out a research to know which sectors were critical in reducing environmental challenges.

Innocent Chongo, who works with Mr Phiri at Kafue Road-side, said there was need for the Government through the councils to compel the people to start using baskets if the challenge of environmental degradation was going to be drastically reduced.

“Our business is viable but we face the challenge where people are used to using disposable plastic bags which they rarely buy and I think the Government through the local authorities should encourage or compel the people to start using baskets when going to the market,” Mr Chongo said.

He said one basket costing K10, 000 could be used for more than a year while a person could spend more than K400, 000 just on plastic bags alone in the same period.

Mr Chongo said the introduction of colour codes would help a lot in reducing garbage and also help some residents to gain from the garbage being accumulated, adding that the baskets were more economical than disposable plastic bags and that was why there was need to encourage the people to revert to the use of plastic bags.

“In terms of recycling we are already doing it because the materials we use are gotten from waste materials from the industries. Let’s not talk about large industries only but also small ones like ours,” Mr Chongo said.

Roma Ward 17 councilor Norman Nyendwa said the idea if fully implemented would result in the reduction of garbage in Lusaka.

Mr Nyendwa said he was currently sensetising the residents in his ward on the new innovation by the council.

“I have embarked on a sensitisation campaign on the need to embrace the colour code bins and the campaign is receiving overwhelming response from the residents,” Mr Nyendwa said.

He said some of the colour code bins have been strategicfally placed in his ward but that the residents should also take it upon themselves to buy the colour code bins, adding that it was for their own good.

On the setting up of recycling industries, Mr Nyendwa said there was need to encourage the setting up of industries, adding that the development would encourage the residents to separate waste for recycling.

“As council, we are bringing a lot of innovations aimed at serving the communities we represent. We need to move forward and achieve what is enshrined in our vision and mission statements,” he added.

He said he was lobbying the council to take more bins to Roma Township to help reduce the indiscriminate dumping of garbage in the area.

Albert Mwewa, who resides in Kanyama Township, said the idea was good but that most people in the low income bracket were could not afford the bins.

Mr Mwewa said most people were struggling to get basic needs and wondered where they would get money to buy three to four different trash bins.

“It is a good idea, but I think people in the low income group cannot afford more than two bins,” Mr Mwewa said.

There is need for the council to popularise the idea of colour code bins. To achieve this, LCC should carry out sensetisations in all the townships to reach as many residents as possible.

LCC should not only end at talking about the colour code bins but the essence of having the bins. Perhaps, they need to go an extra mile to educate people especially those who can not afford colour code bins to tie some tags on the bins they are using for easy identification.

Residents should be encouraged to be separating garbage from that which could be recycled.

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