We thank Sally, a British citizen who lives in Harare, Zimbabwe, who sent us these pieces of information about waste management in Harare. She did so for a larger article we compiled in Italian about waste management in the world. We believe that as expats, we are lucky because we have the chance to compare methods in all spheres of social life around the world. Waste management is a big one.
Essential waste management is a bit of an issue in Harare. Because of the economic decline, public utility services have taken a huge hit in funding from central government. However, if you are lucky enough to live in the northern suburbs (where most expats would chose to live) waste collection does happen but rather erratically.
Due to the health hazards associated with unreliable waste collection by the City of Harare town council, most people who can afford the extra $15 or so per month, (on top of their rates) opt to pay a private collector to collect their rubbish each week. Waste Management Services or The Waste Removal Company will collect waste that has been placed in appropriate colour coded bags for recycling and wherever possible will ensure that all rubbish collected is recycled. The City of Harare, when they do collect, takes all household rubbish to the Pomona waste dump site situated about 5 kilometres outside Harare.
A number of environmental groups have popped up over the years as a result of lack of basic services. For example, Miracle Missions regularly organize cleanup campaigns in neglected areas in and around Harare where normal waste management has all but ground to a halt. However, with the blessing of the City of Harare, 30 or so volunteers armed with rubber gloves, bin bags and lots of hand sanitizer descend upon a designated area and literally clean it up. Several recycling points have been set up around the city with assistance from Environment Africa and are encouraged by the council as they relieve some of the burden of waste management. These sites are run by concerned organizations who enable local people to then produce items in recycled paper, glass, cans and the dreaded plastic which they can then sell as private vendors.
Laurie Macpherson of the “Own your own rubbish project” in conjunction with the European Union and the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe works with 4 community groups and 12 local artists who work in the medium of rubbish and found objects whilst raising awareness that we all should all be responsible for our own waste and at the same time educating people of the toxic harm that everyday waste can cause locally and globally.
City of Harare – www.hararecity.co.zw
Miracle Missions – firstname.lastname@example.org
Waste Management Services – small scale refuse collection and recycling
The Waste Removal Company – small scale refuse collection and recycling; www.waste-removals.co.zw
Own your own rubbish – mailto: email@example.com
Environment Africa – facilitates community action by raising awareness, motivating and empowering people to protect and restore their environment and improve their livelihoods;firstname.lastname@example.org
Environmental Management Agency – statutory body responsible for ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources
Friends of the Environment – email@example.com
Photo credit ©Voa Zimbabwe