X wearevuka.com

Solid waste is “choking” African cities’ potential: circular economy can mitigate this

The alarm about the “critical state” of solid waste accumulation in Africa was sounded at Africa’s Green Economy Summit in Cape Town in February.

“In 2020, sub-Saharan Africa generated roughly 200-million tonnes of solid waste per year and that amount is going to triple by 2050,” said Catalina Marulanda, World Bank Practice Manager in Urban Development for Central & Southern Africa, and moderator of the panel discussion on “Circular economy: Solid waste management.”

She added that more than 70% of solid waste is not collected but directly dumped into the environment, with no recycling.

“This is affecting health, it causes flooding in certain areas, choking the potential that cities have to grow, develop and be competitive in today’s world.

“The good thing is that the solid waste management generates a lot of interest, innovation and a lot of passion.”

The panel agreed that waste management was widely regarded as mainly a service that municipal and local government delivered, while they often they do not have the resources and the capacity to perform the service.

Gaps between waste and circular economy
Florence Larbi, COO of a private waste management company, the Jospong Group based out of Ghana, explained how having government as a client posed “derisking opportunities. This way you can get local and international funding easily. You are able to do advocacy and work closely with government and influence policy.”

She did admit that late payments were a problem sometimes: “Governments can be bullies about payment. However, over a long period you are able to make up in other ways.”

The panel admitted that there were gaps between waste management and implementing more circular economy principles in the value cycle.

Landfill hub of economic activity
“Circular economy is about resource management,” said Ntobeko Boyana of Ben Peta Holdings and Director at the African Circular Economy Network (ACEN). “The first thing we have to do is design waste when we design products.”

He added that any landfill in South Africa is a hub of economic activity, and that the industry is comfortable with that.

“Why not put infrastructure there so that it can be done safely? How do we plan for the future?” He said the industry needs to be working with research institutions and look at waste challenges and innovations, such as formalising what is happening at landfills with waste pickers.

Non-landfill activities
Dave Morrey, Inland General Manager of EnviroServ agreed that 20 years ago, all waste that was collected and removed ended up in landfills.

“Now, a lot of our activities are non-landfill activities. We have a lot of partnerships for the different kinds of waste and to find alternative sources for our waste. A lot of resources we also place with clients to separate waste.”

Attracting climate funds for waste
Florence Larbi said they began to rethink their processes and built subsidiaries along the value chain, such as transfer stations. “We started to look at composting, as waste-to-power did not work for us.” When the Ukraine war impacted fertiliser imports, consumers turned to using compost.

“We are continuously improving to close the loop. Everything is being thought of as a resource,” said the Ghanaian expert. “We also attracted climate funds for what we do, we received $20-million over five years.”

Mar 28, 2024

Green Economy Express – March

Read Full Article

Mar 28, 2024

Financial profit and nature-based economy—family, friends or foes?

Read Full Article