Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has called for increased investment in the country’s recycling industry which is still taking shape, adding that the current situation whereby refuse in residential areas and business premises goes uncollected for months is unacceptable.
The President said there is need to accelerate the promotion of recycling initiatives in the country in line with targets set out in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
He said the recycling industry is taking shape, hence the need for an enabling environment to support sustainable solid waste management and refuse collection modalities among other support services.
The President said this while addressing captains of industry, employees from different companies, residents and senior Government officials at an open space close to the long-distance bus terminus in Kwekwe’s City Centre after participating in a clean-up campaign.
The National Clean-up Campaign Programme was launched by President Mnangagwa in December 2018 in the spirit of creating a clean, safe and healthy environment.
The President declared the first Friday of every month National Environment Cleaning Day and all citizens are expected to clean their surroundings between 8am and 10 am.
The President has been leading by example since then.
The clean-up campaigns have largely helped in conscientising individuals and organisations on the importance of cleaning up the country.
Yesterday, the President was in Kwekwe for the campaign.
“Going forward, the Government will coordinate the outcomes of the national clean-up programme so that it becomes an avenue to accelerate the promotion or recycling initiatives in line with targets set out in the National Development Strategy 1.
Over and above this, I invite increased financial material infrastructure and technical investments in the recycling industry which is taking shape. Furthermore, an enabling environment to support sustainable solid waste management, refuse collection modalities among other support services by local authorities is imperative. Cleanliness should start from the home environment to accelerate the promotion or recycling initiatives in line with targets set out in the National Development Strategy 1,” said President Mnangagwa.
The President said the Ministry of Environment, Climate Tourism and Hospitality must now finalise its work on the Site and Institution Specific Waste Management Standard Guidelines.
He said the city of Kwekwe had shown willingness to embrace the guidelines as it has already identified a site for waste management.
“Kwekwe is the leading council that will receive funding to set up a waste management site. It is the first council to plan what is needed by the central Government in terms of establishing specific waste management standard guidelines. It will be the first city in the country that will receive money from the Central Government to make a waste management site,” said President Mnangagwa.
“The Kwekwe site is near Dutchman School. After the establishment of the site, the next is to give them a power generation plant that will process waste to generate electricity for you.”
He said the country’s vision of a prosperous and empowered upper middle-income society by 2030 resonates with the global agenda on promoting a green economy with regards to sustainable consumption and production.
To this end, President Mnangagwa said it is integral that the country adapts and adopts best waste management practices such as waste separation and segregation from the home environment among other spaces.
“I call upon our residents in cities like Kwekwe, growth points, villages to scale up their participation in this initiative to result in a litter free Zimbabwe. But there are other economic benefits which accrue from the programme anchored on waste minimisation and efficiency,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said developed countries started power generation using coal- the product which they now want developing countries to stop using.
“We were in Glasgow, Scotland for the COP conference last year where all the countries in the world met because we are now affected by climate change which has resulted in the rise of temperatures and change in weather conditions. That was started by the industrialised countries which were using coal to produce electricity.
The developed countries who are the main perpetrators of climate change now want us to stop using coal to produce electricity. We said we need to agree on what to do to have green energy like solar because we need money to invest in solar. So, they agreed to raise US$100 billion for that cause,” he said.
President Mnangagwa appealed to local authorities to take the clean-up seriously, adding that smart cities attract investments.
“I challenge local authorities to play their critical part for the programme to be a success. This must include providing residents with access to basic infrastructure such as refuse bins and establishment of waste transfer station institutions which promote recycling such as waste management committees,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said having refuse going uncollected for months on end is unacceptable.
President Mnangagwa said it is equally disturbing that investment proposals for the conversion of waste to energy presented to some local authorities have not been approved for years.
“So other local authorities, we gave them the same opportunities like we did with Kwekwe so that they set up refuse collection sites so that the next plan is to bring a plant to produce power. They have not done anything but I am happy that Kwekwe is the one leading and we shall support it because slowness is not a culture under my leadership,” he said.
“I urge all communities to uphold the principles of waste reduction to combat far reaching impacts on our environment while also creating value from waste. As individuals, households, communities and institutions, let us make 2022 a turning point in our lives in relation to cleanliness. We can plan for a better waste free future, individually, as a community, we must say cleanliness is good, cleanliness is next to Godliness.”
While President Mnangagwa was in Kwekwe, the First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa led the clean-up campaign programme in Mashonaland West at Murombedzi Growth Point.