‘Waste man­age­ment a busi­ness op­por­tu­nity’

Lesotho Times - - News - Lim­pho Sello

the Min­istry of tourism, en­vi­ron­ment and Cul­ture has called for more con­certed ef­forts in mak­ing waste man­age­ment a busi­ness op­por­tu­nity to al­le­vi­ate un­em­ploy­ment and boost eco­nomic growth.

the min­istry’s direc­tor of en­vi­ron­ment, Stan­ley da­mane, made the re­marks dur­ing a work­shop on clean waste man­age­ment at lancers Inn on tues­day.

the work­shop, which was held with the fi­nan­cial sup­port of the United Na­tions Industrial devel­op­ment or­gan­i­sa­tion, was at­tended by gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, the pri­vate sec­tor, non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions and academia as well as small and medium en­ter­prises.

It sought to iden­tify ways by which mu­nic­i­pal waste could be man­aged in an en­vi­ron­men­tally sound and eco­nom­i­cally ben­e­fi­cial man­ner.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr da­mane, le­sotho needed to join the global trend of har­ness­ing the value found in waste by em­ploy­ing in­no­va­tive ways of reusing, re­cy­cling and de­vel­op­ing new prod­ucts from waste.

“Waste can be a se­ri­ous prob­lem if not man­aged prop­erly, but it also presents am­ple eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties when ap­proached pos­i­tively,” Mr da­mane said.

he said stake­hold­ers in waste man­age­ment fell into two dis­tinct groups: “those who per­ceive waste as an en­vi­ron­men­tal nui­sance that is only wor­thy of dis­posal in a land­fill, and those who per­ceive it as a busi­ness op­por­tu­nity that is worth un­der­stand­ing, reg­u­lat­ing and in­vest­ing in.

“how­ever, the trend in re­cent years is skewed to­wards re­source re­cov­ery and in­creased ben­e­fit from waste man­age­ment. this trend, there­fore, raises a ques­tion of whether we should still be talk­ing about waste man­age­ment or re­source man­age­ment.”

Mr da­mane called on the stake­hold­ers to adopt a “re­newed un­der­stand­ing and ap­proach” to waste man­age­ment. he fur­ther noted that de­vel­op­ing coun­tries were experiencing rapid growth in the gen­er­a­tion of var­i­ous kinds of waste in­clud­ing waste elec­tri­cal and elec­tronic equip­ment or elec­tronic waste (e-waste), waste agri­cul­tural biomass and waste plas­tics.

“The sur­vey con­ducted in 2006 on e-waste pre­dicts that by 2017 le­sotho will dis­card over 103 tonnes per year while the re­pair shops al­ready han­dle more than 18 tonnes of e-waste per year,” he said.

“Ac­cord­ing to stud­ies con­ducted in Maseru in 2006, on av­er­age, each per­son gen­er­ates 0.3kilo­grams (kg) of waste per day. If each per­son in Maseru gen­er­ates 0.3kg per day, it can be cal­cu­lated that 300 000 peo­ple living in Maseru can gen­er­ate 90 000kg per day or 32 850 000kg per an­num, which is equiv­a­lent to 32 900 tonnes per an­num.”

Mr da­mane said le­sotho does not have the ca­pac­ity to han­dle the waste, which con­sists of plas­tic, pa­per, ewaste, glass and other items.

“An ap­pro­pri­ate waste man­age­ment sys­tem is an im­per­a­tive for all waste types found in le­sotho, and such a sys­tem must surely ben­e­fit the econ­omy in many ways,” he said.

the global waste to en­ergy mar­ket, Mr da­mane said, is set to grow to over $28.6 bil­lion (about M310 bil­lion) by 2016, hence the need to main­stream en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns in the sec­toral plans and eco­nomic devel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties.

“there is clearly a need to con­sider a public-pri­vate ap­proach in our en­de­vour to bet­ter man­age waste in le­sotho that is driven at com­mu­nity level

and us­ing low en­ergy/low tech­nol­ogy re­sources,” he said.

“A holis­tic waste man­age­ment ap­proach will pro­mote ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient man­age­ment of waste in­clud­ing ap­pli­ca­tion of the seven rs (re­duce, re­use, re­cy­cle, re­think, re­search, refuse and re­cover). this is an es­sen­tial el­e­ment for pro­mot­ing sus­tain­able pat­terns of con­sump­tion and pro­duc­tion.”

dur­ing the work­shop, the Le­sotho Times also spoke to Mam­pho Set­loboko who man­u­fac­tures bags and hats us­ing plas­tic ma­te­ri­als. Ms Set­loboko, who has been work­ing with plas­tic and other “waste” prod­ucts for the past 25 years, said she was strug­gling to sell her prod­ucts due to space con­straints and lack of mar­ket­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“I used to show­case my prod­ucts at flea mar­kets but it was not vi­able, so I now keep them at home and only sell to peo­ple who al­ready know about my work when they call to make their or­ders,” she said.

Ms Set­loboko ex­pressed hope the work­shop would equip them with skills to mar­ket her prod­ucts more ef­fec­tively, adding that since her busi­ness was cost ef­fec­tive she only need guid­ance by ex­perts to be­come prof­itable.

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