Confronting the Reckless Gambling With People's Health and Lives: Urban Solid Waste Management in Zimbabwe

Type Journal Article - European Journal of Sustainable Development
Title Confronting the Reckless Gambling With People's Health and Lives: Urban Solid Waste Management in Zimbabwe
Volume 2
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
Page numbers 67-98
Litter has become a common sight along high ways and in many urban and peri-urban
communities in Zimbabwe. In spite of the numerous clean-up and anti-litter campaigns
that have been initiated by different individuals and organizations coupled with the
tremendous effort that has been put in making the public aware of the disadvantages
associated with littering, endemic and insistent filth engulfs Zimbabwe as people continue
to litter. Zimbabwe’s waste management has virtually collapsed, triggering chaotic and
rampant waste dumping, putting the health of residents at great risk. The prevalence of
various forms of litter in these communities has been fuelled by a consumerist corporate
and social culture where a lot of packaged foodstuffs are manufactured to be consumed on
the run. Inefficient collection mechanisms by municipalities and lack of ‘separate at source’
models have led to adverse effects on our ecosystem and the environment. Litter has
primary and secondary effects on the environment and the community. The corporate
world is affected by disease outbreaks as employees are either directly or indirectly affected.
Considering that most industries are located within the vicinity of high density areas, their
industrial waste management systems are also a cause for concern. Considering all the
above mentioned factors, the paper examines ways and means of effectively managing
waste in Zimbabwe’s urban areas to reduce the exposure of people and the environment to
waste hazards. The paper argues for the building of some environmental awareness and
changing the mind-set of ordinary Zimbabweans to a set-mind where litter should be
everyone’s concern .It argues for waste disposal to be done in accordance with the best
principles of public health, economics, engineering conservation, aesthetics and other
appropriate environmental practices. The major conclusion is that there is urgent need for
sustainable waste management chiefly through community participation and concomitant
attitude change to adopt a ‘trash is treasure, waste is wealth and refuse is resource’ one.

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