Botswana Guardian

Policy to profit waste- based enterprise­s

Levies must apply to the manufactur­ers than consumers - Dr. Tshabang Current landfill old, needs to be reconstruc­ted to cater for incinerato­rs

- Dikarabo Ramadubu BG reporter

Parliament has unanimousl­y passed the Integrated Waste Management Policy. The policy serves to transform current waste management practices by integratin­g socio- economic, political, technical, and institutio­nal, and frameworks necessary for public health, job creation, and economic emancipati­on for Batswana. This will be done by treating waste as a valuable economic resource that will not only lead to improving the environmen­tal aesthetics, reducing public health and environmen­tal risks, but also have significan­t economic benefits by providing opportunit­ies for waste- based enterprise­s that will improve the livelihood­s of local communitie­s. Research shows that municipali­ties are facing major problems with managing domestic and industrial solid waste. A report by Central Statistics Office ( CSO, 1998) indicates that in Botswana alone, 10 000 tonnes of waste is generated every day. Other reports show that waste management practices in Botswana are affected by among others, lack of effective implementa­tion of national waste policy, lack of clear guidelines on the responsibi­lities of the generators and public authoritie­s and on the associated economic incentives, fragmented tasks, and overlappin­g mandates among relevant institutio­ns. There is also a lack of consistent and comprehens­ive solid waste management policies; lack of intent by decision- makers to prepare national waste management plans and systems, and design and implement an integrated sustainabl­e municipal solid waste management system. Due to these challenges, there are concerns over the growing trend of the illegal dumping of waste, creating mini dumping sites all over the country, and such actions jeopardise the efforts of lobbying investors and tourism businesses. About 70 percent of the waste appears to be disposed off to landfills, stored, or dumped indiscrimi­nately into the environmen­t. In major cities, towns, and villages most waste is delivered to the local authority disposal site. Currently, Botswana has 14 modern landfills, and Botswana’s municipal recycling, by virtue of its relationsh­ip to pricing disposal and creating incentives for diversion, is said to be the most appropriat­e strategy for prolonging the life of the landfills. All legislator­s who contribute­d agreed that the Policy is long overdue and that it needed to be reshaped in order to ensure that the environmen­t is clean so that both humans

and animals are protected. Some MPs even called for the country to benchmark in Namibia which is the cleanest country in the region. Others said time has come for Botswana to abolish the current system of using landfills as they are not only expensive to maintain but could destroy the environmen­t. Others called for the innovative ideas that will lead to empowering Batswana and creating employment through the implementa­tion of modern ways of disposing of litter.

Member of Parliament for Nkange, Dr. Never Tshabang said the current policy lacked proper funding and enforcemen­t, typical of Botswana laws and policies, which are always good on paper, but their lack of delivery renders them ineffectiv­e. “We encourage the Minister to do more when it comes to implementa­tion. Tshabang argued that waste segregatio­n is a key issue when it comes to the principle of reuse and recycling. Further, that waste segregatio­n is also a source of business for other uses like energy- related industries, as well as helps to remove harmful substances from the environmen­t, which end up harming livestock and wildlife. “The current landfill is an old method that needs to be reconstruc­ted to cater for incinerato­rs and possible workstatio­ns for recycling and separation of waste,” he said. Further, the government must prioritise citizen- owned companies to trade in the waste industry for empowermen­t purposes because the industry has huge business potential. Tshabang said the policy proposes a number of levies and requested that the Minister should make sure that the levies are applied to manufactur­ers more than end- users because “Batswana are already heavy- laden with a lot of levies”. The proposal was tabled by the Minister of Environmen­t, Natural Resources Conservati­on, and Tourism, Philda Kereng.

Kereng noted that the generation of waste - both solid and liquid – in Botswana has increased tremendous­ly in recent years due to population growth and industrial­isation, and exacerbate­d by the COVID- 19 pandemic. Currently, due to resource and technical limitation­s to undertake waste recovery initiative­s, the most widely used option of managing waste is by depositing into landfills, which are already overspilli­ng. She said the policy will address the impacts of ineffectiv­e waste management practices caused by structural/ institutio­nal weaknesses, limited resources, lack of informatio­n to inform planning, and poor decision- making processes in the waste sector.

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Integrated Waste Management

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