Waste as Money: Not a Health Hazard | Ruth Siansobanda

It is very common that each and every rainy season news about cholera is widespread. The Ministry of Health invests huge sums of money in this for cholera treatment and preventive messages on both print and broadcast media. However, waste in Zambia and Lusaka remains a health threat.

Piles of waste of waste in Zambia are major source of concern as lots of garbage is seen all over in the country with few waste collection points by the local authority. These kind of wastes range from hazardous to non-hazardous and the have posed many hazards to the environment at large. Huge sums of money are spent by the government for the provision of health services that  combat diseases caused by rubbish.

Restaurants and Fast food places are on the rise hence this has contributed to the accumulation of solid waste that is usually disposed all over in town and compounds and this is posing a threat to environment as plastics materials take about four hundred years to degrade. Other people resort to burning of this waste as a way of getting reducing wastes and making there surrounding clean. This process in turn cause pollution of the air and this brings about health complications to the humans and destruction of habitats for the other species. Additionally, the smoke produced has led to the depletion of the ozone layer which has added to climate change.  We can see evidence of this within the changing of our seasons: For instance, the late coming of the rain this year has resulted in an erratic water supply in one of the dams which has resulted in load shedding.

Waste has also resulted in the blocking of drains and this has led to flash floods in most of the compounds of Lusaka. For a long time, waste  has been collected into a few selected places and dumped in the landfills which are quite old.  People in most residential areas have an opportunity for their wastes to be collected once a week for a fee to the collecting company. Sadly people in the heavily populated compounds are often not able to afford the service. Some areas in the compounds have some skip bins though these usually fill to capacity and are not collected on time. These usually attract a lot of rodents and flies and bad smells always come out of the site.

Another challenge is that waste is not usually separated and all forms are usually in one place and this attracts scavengers who are usually found at the dump sites picking up things such as scrap metal which is sold out to scrap metal companies.

But there are solutions to this problem – such as recycling.

Recycling institutions are emerging and one such is Trashback, which has unique point of targeting compounds in order to deal with this problem.

The non-biodegradable wastes such as plastic bottles are collected and turned into useful products. This illustrates that less money will be spent on transporting the bottles to the landfill. Recycling also confronts the issue of burying and burning wastes. Which will reduce the harmful effects to the environment which is seen as a major contributor to global warming. Organic waste is also used by resolve for growing its flowers, which are later sold and this is leading to income earning for those in low-income areas.

Not only are Trashback providing a contribution to solving the waste management crisis, but they are also economically empowering those living in low-income areas.  By supporting Trashback to grow Challenges Worldwide ICS is showcasing sustainable development for economic and environmental factors affecting a huge proportion of Zambians.



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