Policy makers and corporates have been encouraged to take action towards challenges of rapid urbanisation and rural urban migration as well as come up with inclusive and innovative waste disposal strategies.
Speaking at the Urban Future Conference 2018 hosted by the Corporate Social Responsibility Network Zimbabwe last week, Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development Minister Mike Bimha, who was the guest of honour, encouraged the policy makers, the private sector and citizens to proffer solutions on how to curb rural urban migration.
He also called for strategies to ensure growth points attract investments, create the much needed jobs and become fully fledged cities with state of the art infrastructure.
“A quick look at our urban settlements reveal that there is poor waste management as evidenced by huge mounds of plastic, paper and biodegradable matter among others.
“High population densities have exacerbated waste collection challenges. You may wish to note that our urban settlements grew by about 6 percent over the period 2002 to 2012,” said Minister Bimha.
The conference heard that the increased urban growth has not been matched by a corresponding increase in infrastructure and services. The result is biodiversity and ecosystem degradation.
“Urban council authorities need to look at waste disposal challenges brought by the economic activities of the private sector, SMEs and informal sector, through a different yet newer set of lens. The challenges will not go away if the old methods continue to be employed.
“An Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan which calls on all Zimbabweans to participate in managing waste is sure to bring the much needed reprieve,” added Minister Bimha.
The minister invited recycling companies to work closely with Small and Medium Enterprises and the Youth in collecting plastics thus cleaning the environment and creating employment.
Minister Bimha said that inclusivity and innovation in waste disposal strategies are a must.
“In this regard, the cradle to grave phenomenon, where corporates are required to take responsibility for the disposal of waste generated right from the start of the manufacturing process to the end of shelf life of the product they have manufactured and sold, becomes a critical imperative for all who are in business.”
It is critical to note that waste plastic and waste paper contribute 18 and 25 percent respectively to total waste generated in urban centres while biodegradable waste contributes 32 percent. If we recycle plastic and paper only, we would have reduced waste by 43 percent.
Speaking at the same event, urban environmental planner Mr Percy Toriro, said urban areas in the country particularly Harare are facing rapid growing populations, but very few can afford services that come with urbanisation.
He added that the result is a disorganised and substandard level of living.