By Bester Kayaye
Noting the high levels of pollution and biodiversity loss and the resultant environmental and human health risks caused by indiscriminate disposal of consumption left-overs in the city of Blantyre, the Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy (CEPA) has embarked on a waste management campaign to help communities create value out of waste.
Under the banner ‘My City, My Space’ CEPA is encouraging communities to adopt a waste management system that will reduce pollution and leverage the potential in waste by collecting, sorting, treating and utilizing waste to make valuable resources such as energy or other resources.
During a roadshow in Blantyre’s Bangwe Township on Saturday, the organisation targeted local business operators with messages on how to sorting out trash according to their decomposition structures and other cost-effective waste recycling measures.
Speaking to Mining and Trade Review, CEPA’s Project and Communications Officer Emmanuel Chirwa said the project aims at increasing the capacity of urban communities to demand and implement safe and sustainable waste management systems and practices.
He said his organization is undertaking the mass campaigns to generate a community understanding of waste segregation and utilization in an effort to move away from the old practices of waste management.
“Science proves that 80 percent of what we consume is biodegradable waste and can be turned into composite manure or fire briquettes among other things,” he explained, adding that CEPA has already trained local market authorities on waste management.
The market authorities will be responsible for supervising waste sorting facilities, which will help in reducing the amount of waste disposed while it will, at the same time, create room for recycling the waste.
The ‘My City, My Space’ project has three sub goals namely: Strengthened law enforcement on waste management; Improved waste collection and disposal system at household and municipal level; and Increased access to information on waste management practices.
Among others, the project involves facilitating review of waste management by-laws, orienting law enforcement agencies on waste management and engaging government on operationalisation of the National Waste Management Strategy,
Commenting on the development, Waste Advisers Project Support Officer Khumbo Butao commended CEPA for the sensitization campaigns saying they will open a window of innovation and economic development since people will start venturing into briquettes production from piled-up market biodegradable waste.
Chairperson for Bangwe Market M’madi Mussa also expressed satisfaction with the project saying it is improving waste collection and disposal system including at household level where families are adopting new approaches on waste management.
However, Mussa lamented on influx of non-biodegradable products on the market which he said are exacerbating environmental pollution in the area.
“My plea should go to relevant authorities to seriously act on the continued influx of non-biodegradables on our markets,” he said warning: “Apart from threatening our environment these pose a great risk to people’s health.
“If they cannot be banned at least alternative modalities of management should be undertaken,” he said
The project is funded by the Tilitonse Fund. CEPA is implementing it in partnership with Blantyre City Council and Truss Group.