Wednesday, 15 November 2017
Namibia Economist

Despite rising keenness and commitment of local authorities and the communities to clean up in and around their towns, the challenges faced with waste management in the majority of towns remains a concern, according to Recycle Namibia Forum (RFN) Chairperson, Gloudi de Beer.

“This notably refers to the lack of proper dump sites and landfills, as well as the absence of recycling facilities, and equipment to transport to the closest recycler,” De Beer said.

De Beer added that once the pending Waste Management Act, is implemented, clean-up campaigns should become more sustainable.

Meanwhile, the forum has, throughout the year, placed emphasis on the importance of cleanliness and proper ways to dispose waste collected, by conducting clean-up campaigns with its members in different towns.

Recycle Forum and its members supported a number of such campaigns – not only with sponsored items, but also in guiding the organisers on how to plan, and organise a successful clean-up campaign, and encouraging the three R’s of Reducing, Reusing and Recycling.

In all the clean-up campaigns, according to RNF Coordinator, Anita Witt, the organising teams include community leaders, representatives from the local town councils, schools and other educational institutions, thus bringing together the entire community.

“During 2017, the Forum and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism also joined forces with clean-ups held in Kongola and Omuthiya earlier this year. At the Omuthiya clean-up in May, the Deputy Minister of Environment, Tommy Nambahu and Environmental Commissioner, Theofilus Nghitila both participated in the event, which saw two bags short of 400 of refuse collected, and resulting in 1 ton of recyclables transferred to the Rent-A-Drum facility in Oshakati. This was followed by a clean-up in the Otjozondjupa Region in June, with the Okakarara Town Council, and approximately 400 volunteers which saw 300 bags of refuse assembled. However due to no recycling facility close by, no refuse could be collected, and was thus taken to the local dump site,” Witt said.

Furthermore, in August, the Omaruru community hosted a large-scale clean-up campaign, with 700 participants collecting 1 500 bags of refuse – which resulted in 6 tons of waste picked up during the four hour period. Here too, the waste was separated into recyclable and non-recyclable waste. In the South, the Fish River clean-up campaign took place in September and was organized by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET). Close to 40 volunteers collected 83kg of waste from the Canyon.

“It is a concern that nature lovers are responsible for littering in the Fish River Canyon with items ranging from used beverage containers to broken shoes,” Witt stressed.

At the coast, several clean-ups were hosted as part of the annual Biodiversity Week organized by NACOMA (Namibian Coast Conservation and Management project) during the month of September. According to Witt, Coastal towns from Lüderitz to Henties Bay actively participated by organizing individual clean-ups.

In Swakopmund, 350 volunteers collected 187kg of recyclables, which according to Witt is indicative that the area from Tiger Reef to Platz am Meer, is relatively clean.

“The final event for this year, and possibly the largest clean-up campaign in the country, took place recently in Ondangwa. The week-long clean up saw the business sector, educational institutions and community leaders all take part by cleaning different sections of the Ondangwa town and surroundings, with prizes on offer for the most successful teams. Close to 3 500 refuse bags were collected during the week-long clean up, resulting in 43 trips to the local dump site. A total volume of 480kg of recyclables were sourced from the waste collected,” Witt concluded.