CBOs, forgotten frontiers in solid waste management

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Sharon Chikowore

DESPITE the critical role that the Community Based Organisations (CBOs) play in ensuring
that the environment is clean and some operating as individuals, they are being failed as they
are not getting the support.
During an environment symposium held in Chinhoyi recently, it became apparent that the
CBOs were being neglected and not being offered the support required for people risking
their health in trying to keep the environment clean and healthy for others.
From the discussions, it became clear that local authorities were offering very little assistance
and sometimes none at all to these groups and individuals, even though they were trying to
lessen the load of work, which should be done by councils.
The CBOs are said to be forgotten because the system does not acknowledging them and is
not rendering any support to them, yet it’s an industry with potential on its own to curb solid
management crisis across rural and urban spheres.
Local authorities offer very little assistance to upscale the activities of these groups yet they
are key in the waste management recycling puzzle.
The litter they collect reduces the volume of garbage, which will be taken to dumpsites
because they collect many tonnes, which they in turn sell to the companies but local
authorities seem to be silent on these things.
As they work at the numerous dumpsites, they are faced with many dangers and are prone to
disease as they need proper protective clothing including gloves and gumboots.
Speaking during the symposium president of Solid Waste Management Association (SWAM
A), Joshua Chimanga, complained about the way they are being treated by the local
authorities, saying they are looked down upon them when they need help in uplifting their
daily struggles.
“The major problem we are facing is transportation. We are having difficulties in transporting
our waste to Harare and we are appealing to organisations like Delta if they could provide
transport to our districts. Market is another issue; we can go up to two months without selling
and when we sell the prices are shocking, we end up getting nothing.
“If only we could get loans so that we can buy machinery we need so we can uplift ourselves.
We need help on these things. Councils sometimes make things hard for us. They should treat
us well as we are helping in keeping the environment clean, while lessening their job,” said
Chimanga.
It is the support which is lacking, it is the institutional commitment which is lacking, it is the
failure by systems of the local authorities to acknowledge the presence and efforts of
community- based organisations.

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