The Environment Management Agency (EMA) has hit the ground running in managing solid waste in the Harare Metropolitan Province.
Peter Tanyanyiwa Suburban Reporter
EMA has started clearing illegal dumps in the four local authorities under Harare Metropolitan namely City of Harare, Chitungwiza Municipality, Ruwa Local Board and Epworth Local Board.
As a result of near collapse of garbage removal in the four Harare Metropolitan, President Mnangagwa in August declare the poor waste management a state of disaster. Piles of rubbish, uncollected for months, have become a common sight at most shopping centres, public places, open spaces and in residential areas.
The declaration by the President paved the way for central Government to move in and help the four local authorities.
A similar declaration on roads also allowed central Government to move in a few years ago and took over the road rehabilitation and reconstruction of major roads in cities and towns.
For waste management, EMA was designated as the lead Government agency to coordinate and enforce efficient rubbish removal.
The declaration was published in terms of the Civil Protection Act under Statutory Instrument (SI) 140 of 2023 cited as the Civil Protection (Declaration of State of Disaster: Emergency Solid Waste Management Harare Metropolitan Province) Notice, 2023.
According to SI 140, Government “noted with great concern the deplorable state of cleanliness of the Harare Metropolitan Province, characterised among other things by litter and waste dumps accumulating in business and residential areas of the province, open burning of garbage and indiscriminate illegal dumping of solid waste and littering”.
The SI added that the local authorities in the province were unable to manage their waste due, among other reasons, their failure to invest in waste management infrastructure and related equipment as well as human resources along with their inefficient collection practices and lack of environmental control systems.
Speaking at the clearance of illegal dumping sites in Budiriro 4 last Friday, EMA environmental education and publicity manager Mrs Amkela Sidange said EMA started managing solid waste in Harare Metropolitan Province as soon as the state of disaster was declared and is now into a month of the illegal dump clearance programme.
“The EMA waste management plan comes after the declaration of the state of disaster in solid waste management in Harare Metropolitan Province, where we find four local authorities, which include City of Harare, Ruwa Local Board, Chitungwiza Municipality, Epworth Local Board.
“As the agency we have been given an oversight role of coordinating remedial actions, and part of the activities including removal of illegal dumps which we are currently carrying out. We also have the issue where local authorities have to submit plans to the agency and the agency to monitor the plans to make sure that they are being implemented religiously.
“We will also be involved in ring fencing the funds that are meant for solid waste management, issues of installation of bins in public places and issues of raising awareness on cleanliness,” she said.
In view of the threats the solid waste management crisis presents to public health, EMA wasted no time in moving in.
“EMA hit the ground running when the declaration of disaster in solid waste management was made out of concern of the integrity of the environment and public health.
“Removal of illegal dumps was one of the key issues because the biggest problem we are facing is illegal dumps which were now all over. Removal of illegal dumps have been ongoing for some time now, having had a target of about 800 illegal dumps which were mapped across the province.
“To date we have cleared about 348. We are about a month and a half into this initiative. We are where we are because we have been running against a moving target as some quickly recur hence we had to go back where we thought we were done and clear again.
“This is where we are saying we now need everyone to see the bigger picture, so we move forward together,” said Mrs Sidange.
Currently, EMA is sitting on a pledge of about 510 empty drums which now need to be fabricated into bins from the mining sector, private companies and individuals.