Recycling garbage

Recycling garbage

MAPUTSOE-THE Ministry of Local Government and the United Nations International Development Organisation (Unido) have launched a project aimed at minimizing potential injuries or diseases emanating from uncontrolled dumpsite fires and waste disposal.

The project, launched last Thursday, is meant to promote “best environmental practices and best available techniques to reduce unintentional Open Burning Organic Pollutants (uPOPS)”.
Unido is financing the project to the tune of USD 200 000 (about M30.7 million). The project is expected to create employment, as people will be paid for bringing recyclable garbage to the dumpsite.

Maseru Town Clerk Moeko Maboe said UNIDO’s funding will help the city rid itself of illegal dumpsites that are sprouting across the city.
“Start putting aside the recyclable ones for sale,” Maboe said, also urging residents to go back to the practice of turning dirt into manure.
He encouraged residents to take measures to ensure a clean environment and participate in Operation Hloekisa Lesotho in line with Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s call.

Councillor Mahlapholane Rantsoti said some people had died from eating food from dumpsites, citing the case of three children who died after eating tinned fish from the Mokota-Koti dumpsite.
Two siblings also died after eating fruits from the dumpsite.
He said people no longer eat the “insides” of some of their livestock such as cattle, which are eating soiled disposable baby napkins that are strewn all over the city.

“Dirt has hurt us for a long time, we are fed up of being controlled by it,” he said.
Rantsoti said the project will encourage people to stop polluting the environment.
“We really are short of words of how grateful we are for the launch. The ball is in our court now and we need by-laws for enforcement,” he said.

The Leribe District Council Secretary, Teboho Molope, described the two municipalities as “the faces of the country” which should be kept clean.
“They have to attract not only tourists from abroad but Basotho as well,” he said.
“Elders, children and animals search the dumpsites for waste and we need to do something big for solid waste management to ensure that items thrown away stay there (at the dumpsite) and no one has access to it,” he said.

Molope said it was vital to change people’s attitudes towards waste disposal.
“We will work hard to ensure implementation of the project and it always starts with oneself and by this we will be promoting good health,” he said.
The two landfills do not meet international standards of a sanitary landfill because they have no weighbridge to record the amount of incoming waste and there is no proper record keeping.

Although it is known that the waste is coming from industrial firms, shops and private homes, but there is no data on the quantities of the waste.
Also, there is no segregation of general and hazardous waste as all waste is lumped together.
The waste is uncovered and blows with the wind, while lack of control of methane causes unabated fires, risking the health of people staying close by. Recently a fire broke out at Mokota-Koti landfill in Ha-Nyenye in Maputsoe.

Also, dumpsites have no restricted access, resulting in children finding their way into the sites to scavenge for rubbish that is thrown away on a daily basis from households and commercial sites.
For years the Maseru and Maputsoe municipalities have been characterised by poor waste disposal systems.

“It is evident that we are in a crisis with waste open burning,” Kobeli Tšasanyane, a Senior Environmental Officer in the Ministry of Tourism, said.
He said the two municipalities have been chosen for the project after realisation that the two local authorities were the most affected.
He said the burning of waste has dire effects on the environment.
“With this project we are trying to bring things to normal and reduce the impact of climate change,” he said.

He said dumpsites will be fenced, controlled and demarcated to effectively deal with filth.
Sotlehang Sekhamane, speaking on behalf of the Maputsoe MP, said cleanliness starts with the individual.
“We first have to be able to do it for ourselves so that we will be able to do it for our country,” he said.

Tourism Minister Lekhetho Rakuoane said waste disposal systems were in a sorry state countrywide.
“Waste control countrywide is in an unsatisfactory state to a point that we decided to collaborate to improve the standards,” said Rakuoane.

’Mapule Motsopa

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