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‘Partnering Government to Clean Up Urban Areas’

Following the landmark Waste Management Symposium hosted by DanChurchAid in February 2022, attended by national government and local authority representatives, academia, community leaders, the private and civil society, DCA continues to strengthen community led waste management interventions.

Working with local partners, with funding support from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), and the UN World Food Programme (WFP), DCA is empowering communities to exercise their constitutional rights and actively participate in the attainment of Global Sustainable Goals (SDGs) 11 and 12.

The February 2022 Waste Management Symposium provided a platform for key stakeholders to reflect on critical issues such as bottlenecks and challenges in refuse and waste collection, private sector participation towards solutions and opportunities for communities, as well as health and environmental issues emerging in communities and mitigations efforts.

“This is about more than simply separating plastics and organic waste. It is about empowering ordinary people by creating a consciousness about the value of what otherwise very quickly becomes a source of diseases and vermin,” said Mads Lindegard, DCA Zimbabwe country director.

In recent years heaps of uncollected domestic waste accumulating into stockpiles on the roadside have become common place in urban areas creating fertile breeding grounds for pestilence and disease in communities. According to the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), annually two billion tonnes of waste are produced around the world, and 99 percent of items purchased are discarded within six months adding to the carnage.

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The goal of sustainable waste management is to reduce the amount of natural resources consumed, reusing materials taken from nature as much as possible, creating as minimal waste as possible.

Locally, DCA is achieving this by among other things, delivering ‘waste for cash’ training, establishing centres where participating community members can operate with the prerequisite protective equipment, creating a new value system with community at the centre, revolving around recycling waste.

In 2020, the global waste recycling services market was valued at USD55.1 billion, estimated at USD57.69 billion in 2021, and expected to grow considerably as consumer awareness about the environmental impacts of waste increases. By 2028, it is forecast that the global waste recycling services market will have reached almost USD90 billion in value, according to global experts.

“As you can see this is not a small industry, as DCA we seek to restore dignity to marginalised urban households, and if people can appreciate that the solutions to challenges that affect the community are within reach, that is the basis for sustainable action. Zimbabweans have always taken pride in their living spaces, and we are hopeful that the value of recycling will compliment government efforts to restore cleanliness and pride in urban communities,” said Lindegard.

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Given increasing global challenges, solid waste management is addressed in the SDGs, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the New Urban Agenda (NUA), covering SDG 11-on sustainable cities and communities. This includes target 11.6, which focuses on reducing the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including paying special attention to air quality, municipal and other waste management issues.

SDG 12 is also covered and speaks to responsible consumption and production which includes targets focused on environmentally sound management of all waste through prevention, reduction, recycling, reuse (targets 12.4 and 12.5), and reduction of food waste (target 12.3). Under the Paris Agreement, nationally determined contributions (NDCs) can include action on waste management as part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The NUA commits to “environmentally sound management and minimization of all waste”.

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