Africa-Press – Botswana. Gaborone City Council (GCC) is grappling to keep up with pace in waste collection in the capital Gaborone owing to logistical challenges despite having P21 million annual budget to collect the waste.
For the past weeks, the capital residents have been fuming to the council for not collecting waste. According to Deputy Town Clerk- Technical Services at GCC, Olebile Mafala said the council is not struggling to collect the waste from household due to lack of budget as it has been alleged. Mafala noted that the city council on annual basis has budget of P21 million for waste collection. He said the council put P12 million on outsourcing trucks from private sector to collect waste.
“Waste hasn’t been collected in 30 locations around the city. This inconvenience was caused by breakdown in some of waste collection trucks. The bus rank collection was outsourced and the contractor didn’t rise to the occasion hence the council decided to cut ties with him,” he added.
He revealed that the council incur P6 million as costs of maintaining waste collection vehicles yearly. So, he said GCC will not resort to hiking collection fees for households to cushion maintenance costs.
Furthermore, Mafala said waste management has been identified as essential service hence the city council is committed to ensure that waste collection is effective so to keep the city cleaner. “The budget will never be enough because waste management on its nature is broader and it needs a lot with regards to logistics. That is why we have decided to outsource collection to the private sector. We will also put emphasis on public education about waste management,” he said.
Environmental Health Officer at GCC Tshenolo Mopako said the council will remedy situation. According to Mopako, GCC is aware of the health hazards posed by not collecting the waste. “We are very apologetic about the situation. We also urge residents not to take waste next to the roads because it poses threat to health of the community. We are also we are still looking at the sustainability of GCC garbage to cash initiative. Our intentions is to see it privatized as well. The council is in consultation with stakeholders to make this sector attractive,” he added.
Local Waste Management research done by Daniel Mmereki in 2018 found that as a result of insufficient resources, waste management remains challenge, and it is often not yet given high priority.
Mmereki’s mini-review paper found out that waste management practices in Botswana are affected by lack of vital or effective implementation of national waste policy amongst others. “The effective waste management practices are not all about legislative solutions, but a combination of the environmental, social, technical, technically skilled human resources, financial and technological resources, resource recycling, environmental pollution awareness programmes and public participation,“ part of Mmereki’s paper reads punching holes on local efforts.
With regards to public-private partnership, the study note that they are not well established in waste management operations in Botswana, although the councils have privatized to outsource. “In particular, public–private partnerships in the design of landfilling towards engineered and sanitary operations, incineration of the municipal solid waste and national waste management plans are almost absent. The only cooperation and/or partnerships between the public sector and private sector companies are mostly through contracts for the provision of waste collection and disposal services,” Mmereki study observed.
The study recommended for concerted efforts to be made to support decision makers to re-organize a sustainable waste management system that is still lacking in context of Botswana.
Meanwhile, newly elected GCC Mayor Austin Abraham reiterated new leadership to speed up service delivery in key areas such as waste management so to keep the capital city very clean. Abraham admitted the challenges that the council encountered of late in waste collection but he is content that all will get back to normal, adding that attaining a clean city is his top of his agenda. “Part of my roadmap is to make Gaborone a clean city that is competitive and attractive to the world. I will also be leading from the front to ensure that there is efficiency in service delivery,” he said.