Sinking in waste

Sinking in waste

MASERU – AN estimated 157 552 tonnes of waste is generated in Maseru every year with the biggest culprits being commercial institutions at 40 percent, followed by residential waste at 34 percent. This was disclosed during a breakfast meeting to commemorate World Habitat Day 2018 in Maseru on Monday.
Speaking at the meeting, Local Government and Chieftainship Minister Habofanoe Lehana said there has been a huge increase in waste generation in Maseru city in recent years.
A similar trend has also been found in all other urban and non-urban centres across the country.

The ministry partnered with UN-Habitat to host a breakfast meeting on the implementation of the new Urban Agenda, with particular focus on the theme of World Habitat Day, ‘Municipal Solid Waste Management’. Lehana said in order to promote solid waste management, disposable nappies should be banned because people tend to misuse them.
“Current global estimates of Municipal Solid Waste generation levels point that every year two billion tonnes of solid waste is produced. The rate of waste generation is expected to double by 2025,” he said.

This represents a significant increase in per capita waste generation rates per person per day in the coming years.
According to the minister, to date solid waste collection is still fairly common in planned middle to high income areas and within the CBD with expenditure amounting to M40 per month.
However, the Maseru City Council (MCC) continues to innovate to ensure that waste collection spreads throughout the city.
Lehana said the biggest obstacle is not only affordability of services but the unwillingness of city residents to pay for the service and the lack of access routes to penetrate peri-urban areas.
He said this year’s World Habitat Day offers an opportunity to change the mindsets towards waste management, as waste management should not be regarded as the responsibility of the MCC alone.
Every Mosotho should take care of their surroundings, he said.
“We must be aware of the effect of illegal disposal such as dumping waste on illegal dumpsites, streets, public spaces, dongas and rivers. These bad practices have adverse impacts on the environment, on human health and on the economic well-being of many countries,” he said.

The country has adopted many plans and strategies to guide actions in solid waste management.
The National Strategic Development Plan 2012/2013 to 2016/2017 requires Lesotho to reverse environmental degradation and adapt to climate change by improving the delivery of environmental services, including waste and sanitation and health promotion.

It is estimated that every day 0.8 kilograms of waste is produced by every person in the world.
And the amount of total waste generated is expected to triple to 5.9 billion tonnes a year by 2025 because of increased consumption and ineffective management strategies.
The government of Lesotho has committed to celebrate the day and take stock of the country’s milestones towards the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, a new framework adopted in 2016 following the Habitat III Conference that lays out how cities should be planned and managed to best promote sustainable development.

The UN-Habitat representative, Roi Chiti, commended Lesotho for its commitment through the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship.
Chiti said the ministry was a key partner of UN-Habitat during the formulation of the New Urban Agenda and more recently as a Chair of the Specialized Technical Committee of the African Union.

Chiti said waste ought to be disposed properly, to protect the environment and people’s health.
But it can be extremely expensive because local authorities sometimes spend over half of their budgets doing so.
“This discarded rubbish can cause flooding, pollution and health hazards. Uncontrolled dumpsites become breeding grounds for insects and animals, which transmit diseases. No one would choose to live alongside dumped waste,” he said.

Chiti said people should use bottles and cups instead of disposable ones, and reuse, repair or share items instead of throwing them away.
He said governments and the public should work together to reduce waste and expand recycling as well as to ensure that waste is collected and disposed of properly.
Lehana said he wants to promote the implementation of the New Urban Agenda to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Lesotho and in the whole African region within coordinated regional framework of the African Union.

In line with the WHD 2018 theme, the Lesotho National Strategic Development Plan 2012/2013 to 2016/2017 requires the country among other items to reverse environmental degradation and adapt to climate change by improving the delivery of environmental services including waste and sanitation and health promotion.

Tokase Mphutlane

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