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Struggling recycling efforts in Zimbabwe to ‘leave no one behind’

Zimbabwe is close to losing the war against waste, according to environment minister Mangaliso Ndlovu. New Zimbabwe reports he is eager to turn the situation around urgently.

Zimbabwe generates around 1.7 million tonnes of waste per year. While around 90% of this is recyclable, according to the latest figures by the nation’s Environmental Management Agency only about 25% of municipal waste and 15% of plastic waste is recycled.

‘The recycling industry has not been fully developed, which discourages some of the community based organisations who have to transport waste as far as South Africa for sale,’ Ndlovu said during a recent clean-up campaign in the city of Kwekwe.

The minister is also concerned at the level of littering and fly-tipping. ‘Street corners, residential areas and business centres have been turned into dumping sites,’ he says, lamenting the ‘untapped potential’ of the country’s recycling sector and criticising local authorities for failing to collect recyclables on a regular basis.

The following actions are proposed:
• Investing in the recycling value chain to make it more attractive to community members – especially young people
• Local authorities collecting waste more frequently and informing citizens of kerbside options and collection drives
• Funding grassroots recycling initiatives
• Enforcing by-laws to penalise those breaking environmental rules
• Local authorities to devise ‘serious’ environmental plans backed by dedicated recycling specialists

‘As a government that believes in inclusivity, we are committed to leaving no-one and no place behind when it comes to supporting waste recycling,’ Ndlovu concludes.

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