Stakeholders, who last Wednesday attended a waste management workshop at Gaborone Sun, discussed draft guidelines and accepted them as a tool to guide envisaged better waste management approach.
The Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control (DWMPC), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is in the process of developing Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Recycling Guidelines for purposes of improving contribution of the waste management sector in national economic growth.
Stakeholders commented using their experiences in various fields of waste management – both as individuals and as groups – during group discussions.
A waste collection business operator in the Kgatleng District, Patrick Ditshwene, of Waste-A-Matic (Pty) Ltd, advised that gaps that exist between the government departments and the private sector should be bridged.
“There is the department of Waste Management, that of environmental affairs, that of Tourism and so forth, all dealing with environment conservation. These should be seen to be working together like a team; together with private sector,” said Ditshwene.
He further advised people, especially the media, not to dwell only in urban areas because communities in rural areas are trying to control waste. In his District, he said, they have established regular campaigns where the communities work together to clean up the environment. He bemoaned situations where literate people are the worst polluters of the environment.
“You will find someone who drives a flashy car, well dressed, dumping disposable nappies by a skip in Mochudi, and then heading to Gaborone in his or her car. What is this? It is knowledgeable people who pollute the most and this makes education on environmental conservation difficult,” he snapped.
Mpho Lekorwe, another Gaborone-based operator from Clean Wizard, a company that collects waste using skips, suggested that there be a transfer station where waste will be segregated before being sent to landfills. He said it was not right for the recycling companies to get their recyclables from the landfills.
“A plot should be availed for a transfer station. Whether it will come with cost or not it is necessary to have it,” he said.
The current situation is that the operators have to just carry the waste mixed up to the landfills as trying to separate it at the customers’ places often meets with smell complaints from customers. Waste that is just dumped in its totality like that leads to frequent filling of landfills as recyclable waste is dumped with other forms of waste.
Another issue he raised was that of having a standard charge by landfills. The current situation where the Ramotswa landfill is found to be cheaper than the Gamodubu one will lead to the former attracting more customers, hence it will fill up much sooner than the latter.
Guiding questions were given each group for discussions, referring to the guidelines. One of the comments made by one of groups was that for change in waste management to come about, there was need for capacity development. This would capacitate various groups of the society to effectively partake in the envisaged campaign. This means education.
First, there will be need to assess the situation so that the right action would be taken. A training plan will be made. It should be started at grass roots level. This refers to pre-primary school going children and primary school. Then it will be rolled out to adults, through to Village Development Committees, the Community Based Organizations and all the villages and towns’ leadership.
As capacity strengthening for those already practising in (employees and business people) waste management, assessment will also be made for gap analysis. Again training would be provided for them, based on their needs.
For ease of operations, role clarity will be made, providing guidance as to who should do what in the new approach. Key results to indicate whether the message has been sent home will be reduced accumulation of waste, recycling projects being started and active environment clubs being formed.
Of course, there is need to embark on sensitization, public awareness campaigns through media, Public Relations and even kgotla meetings. Funds will be needed to start up projects, build infrastructure, as well as provide incentives for motivation’s sake. The group suggested that framework for this start in 2013.
The main objective of the workshop was to share and discuss the draft guidelines with stakeholders and harmonize the framework with existing policies and legislation.