Zim Generates 1, 6 million tonnes of waste yearly

Dumpsite in Harare. image credit : NewsDay

OVER 1, 6 million tonnes of waste are generated in Zimbabwe annually, an Environmental Management Agency (EMA) official has revealed.

Speaking during a National Association of Freelance Journalists (NAFJ), EMA microbiologist Tracey Mubambi said the figure is set to treble by 2030 on the back of inaction.

“So an estimated 1, 6 million tonnes of waste are generated in Zimbabwe annually. It is expected to surpass 5 million tonnes per year by 2030 if no action is taken,” she said.

She said the major driver of poor waste disposal in Zimbabwe has been the growing population in urban areas. Ms Mubambi estimated the current urban population to constitute over 80 percent of the nation.

“The major driver of waste especially looking at Zimbabwe are the high population densities. If you are to look at statistics, we will see that in 2002, 40 percent of the population was living in urban areas as compared to 22 percent in 1982. So you can imagine where we are at right now. If 40 percent of the population was living in urban areas in 2002, in 2020 I bet we are now at 80 to 90 percent of the population in the urban areas. So this is leading to sprouting of illegal settlements. People try to look for accommodation and places to stay as they come to the urban areas. The other driver is the change in consumption patterns,” she said.

Local authorities have been issuing notifications of bin collection but with the current fight against the COVID-19 epidemic, bin collection has been haphazard. With this inconsistency, locals have resorted to disposing waste at various illegal places posing health hazards.

“Then we also look at the non-provision of bins and also the inconsistent collection of bins by local authorities. The other major issue really is people’s attitude towards waste management. You see that not many people are really concerned with waste management issues. Some people would just want to dispose their waste at a certain place where they know its not allowed, rather than wait for the local authorities to come and collect the waste,” she said.

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