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Ministry of Local Government (MLG)
Waste Management Critical
07/11/12
Pertinent issues with regard to the coordination of environmental health services, especially inadequate refuse collection services and generally poor waste management services particularly in urban areas has been particularly problematic in this country. There is need to reflect on the services that we are providing to our customers, with a view to seeking long term solutions to these challenges.

These words were said by the Assistant Minister of Local Government, Hon Maxwell Motowane recently at the recent Environmental Health Officers practicum in Gaborone. The participants had met to deliberate on development of environmental health indicators with particular emphasis on consensus building on draft indicators, their prioritization, profiling and drafting of data and reporting tools on emerging issues. Minister Motowane underlined the significance of the workshop, saying it came at the right time on the heels of the just ended BOCCIM Conference where significant issues relating to waste management were also raised. “The business community was particularly critical about the services that we (Local Government) provide. Among the many issues that were raised were cumbersome bureaucratic processes and alleged lack of professionalism in some cases. It is against this background that we need to reflect and see where we are going wrong and rectify that for our customers’.

Topmost on the agenda was the management of waste which was said to be lagging behind as some cited lack of responsiveness, and the call was made to make waste production and management more sustainable. “This therefore, calls upon us to consider both waste reduction, recycling and reuse strategies. Hon. Motowane availed that recycling, if done properly, can play a major role in diverting waste from landfills, adding that other countries around the world have achieved 80% diversion rate. Botswana is currently sitting between 1.5% and 20% of diversifying waste from landfills.

The Minister was further concerned by the fact that most landfills are not licensed, they have old and dysfunctional equipment, and there are no key waste management facilities such as waste transfer stations and holding-bays, accumulated debts for services and that some Local Authorities are not charging anything for waste management services. He further noted that those who do, are charging way below what the services cost the Council.

In closing, the participants were on the benefits of recycling as being many folds. Environmental benefits would result from diversion of waste from land filling, while earning a livelihood through recovery of sale of recyclables has social benefits. Collection of waste which would otherwise be collected by Council or its agent has economic benefits and needs to be adopted moving forward.

Owing to the Ministry of Local Government direct interface with the citizenry, it is mandated by different statutes to coordinate and ensure effective implementation of environmental health programmes, such as Waste Management Act, Food Control Act, the Public Health Act, Livestock and Meat Industries Act, and the Trade Act.

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