THE Environmental Management Agency embarked on an intensive programme to tackle the issue of littering. The programme involves awareness raising, distribution of anti-litter stickers to public transport vehicles, clean up campaigns, awareness roadblocks and also prosecution of litterbugs. More than 800 litterbugs having been arrested since the beginning of the year. To date, Harare, Manicaland, Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South have been covered. The team will move to the remaining provinces soon.
Can this litter challenge be tackled sustainably?
Sustainable waste management can be defined as “Using material resources efficiently to cut down on the amount of waste produced”.
Where waste is generated, it is dealt with in a way that actively contributes to the economic, social and environmental goals of sustainable development. This can be achieved through different waste management options such as prevention, minimisation, reuse, recycling, energy recovery, incineration and finally disposal in a properly lined landfill. The sustainable management of waste, however, calls for an integrated approach where everyone participates and takes corrective action to reverse this unpleasant situation.
Stakeholder participation therefore becomes key in resolving this anomaly that has greatly reduced the aesthetic value of our once beautiful towns and cities.
Who are the stakeholders
The Agency works with stakeholders who include; corporates, retailers, vendors, residents, churches, schools and tertiary institutions, civic society, farmers, traditional leaders, local authorities and communities among others. Together we can achieve “a safe, clean and healthy environment”. The environment is everyone’s business, everyone is a stakeholder, play your part to keep it clean.
Role of Stakeholders in waste management
– Adopt the cradle to the grave principle, which refers to the responsibility a company takes for the entire life cycle of a product, service or programme from design to disposal or termination.
– Put a bin in front of your shop.
– Organise yourselves into groups and adopt zones for clean-up.
– Clean up your frontage up to the road and back corridors and sanitary lanes regularly.
– Donate branded bins to local authorities. This will ease the burden of waste management on local authorities while at the same time advertising the organisation or company.
– Appoint anti-litter monitors for your shopping areas.
– Organise regular clean ups to keep shopping centres clean and attractive to customers.
– Set up cages to collect recyclables; cans, bottles, plastic bottles etc.
– Food outlets should sell their food leftovers to piggeries or individuals with pets.
– “Adopt” a street in your city/town and maintain it on a regular basis.
– Form community based organisations (CBOs) and regularly clean up residential frontage, backyards and streets in your area.
– Appoint anti-litter monitors in your areas.
– Establish environment committees and clean up the wards.
– Separate your waste into biodegradable, plastic bottles (PEPs) and metal cans and sell to recycling companies.
– Compost all material that is biodegradable. Use the manure for your vegetable gardens and flowerbeds.
– Avoid burning waste, the fumes cause cancer.
– Avoid dumping of waste at street corners and open spaces.
Schools, Colleges and Universities
– Form environmental groups to spearhead clean-up of institutional frontage and roads leading to these institutions and back corridors and sanitary lanes.
– Adopt areas/zones for clean-up and enhance the school and the community relationships.
– Set up cages to collect plastics, glass, cans for pupils.
– Collect recyclables at home and bring to school on a set day.
– Identify individuals or a group of people responsible for the coordination of waste management activities at church.
– Source and keep clean up materials which would be used during clean up campaigns and other environmental educational awareness programmes.
– Develop waste management plans which act as a guide on what they should do with regards to the management of waste.
– When hosting national and international events churches should ensure they procure enough waste receptacles to be able to sustainably manage their waste.
– Shun the use of polystyrene (kaylite) as food packaging but rather opt for plates during gatherings.
– Avoid using posters to advertise programmes but rather do so electronically.
– Each local authority is encouraged to tailor make and develop their own system that is in tandem with their waste scenario and vailable stakeholders.
– Communication and education become the principal components of a good plan that is likely to be successful. People under the jurisdiction should know when refuse is collected, when the service is not being provided and should be informed of any changes to the service delivery system.
– Local Authorities are requested by law to establish Environment Committees and sub Committees to assist in all management of their environment.
– Every local authority should have a properly lined landfill where waste is disposed of. They should also invest in incinerators for the disposal of medical waste, disposable diapers and other items that are not suitable for the landfill.
– Councils should also partner with the business community which can provide bins and adopt streets thereby easing the burden on waste management.
Do not litter. The difference you make is real.
QUIZ FOR ALL
– Explain the 3Rs in waste management.
– NB: send your answers to [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>. The deadline is the 22nd of February 2016. Kindly indicate your full name, address, phone number, email and your nearest EMA office.