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
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.