Lesotho takes steps to reduce pollution

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By ’Mamokete Makōkō

In an effort to reduce the increase of unintentionally produced persistent organic pollutants (uPOPs) the ministry of Tourism Environment and Culture held a validation workshop on the development of a Maseru and Maputsoe focused waste management plans.

KDNews learned the waste management plan formulation is intended to ensure that Lesotho meets its obligations under the Stockholm Convention.

Key activities, KDNews heard, are the construction of Recyclable Collection Centres that shall serve the country’s industrial hubs located in Maputsoe and Maseru and will also capacitate stakeholders and conduct their needs assessment in order to ensure effective environmental management plan implementation.

Director of the National Environmental Secretariat, Motsamai Damane said that for many years, Basotho living near the Tšosane landfill waste site located in Ha-Tšosane in Maseru petitioned that the site must cease operating and the waste must be removed.

Damane said the project is aimed at Maseru and Maputsoe districts owing to their huge factories’ wastes.

“We have to take this opportunity very seriously for us to do the job right,” said Damane.

As a way of reducing open waste burning, Thabo Tšasanyane from the Ministry of Tourism, environment and culture said that they conducted awareness campaigns targeting relevant stakeholders.

He said the stakeholders included schools, community councils and chiefs.

He said the development of waste management plans and assessment of door-to-door collection systems and fencing and partitioning of Maputsoe dumpsite form part of the whole project.

Tšasanyane said the project consists of the institutions which include the department of environment, ministry of local government and chieftainship affairs, councils and private sectors and that every institution has its obligations in the project.

He said that amongst the risks a person may be exposed to due to being exposed to uPOPs are: “cancer, endocrine, immune, reproductive and neurological effects”.

Fumane Matsipa, also from the Ministry of Tourism, added that the door-to-door waste collection assessment is currently functioning and that the system was fairly known in Maseru as a concept that leads to Reduction, Reuse and Recycling of waste or community “contracting” in the communities.

She said that three sites which are Maseru City Council stores, Taoana Parks and Litaleng have been acquired and approved for the construction of the Recyclable Collection Centres (RCC) and they are just awaiting the issuance of leases, application of building permits then the construction of the lands will continue.

With the current door to the door collection system, Matsipa said they encountered challenges in Ha-Nyenye, Maputsoe that there is a lack of proper knowledge of solid waste management and consequences of open burning.

She said the solution is to have a proper orientation and education training on solid waste management and that the council must assist with collection and further provide bins for them and design regulations for enforcement and penalizing those who do not comply.

National University of Lesotho’s Professor Timothy Thamae said they are working on reclaiming Lesotho’s waste and making it better, and clean.

Thamae said in their research they found that plastic dominates in Maseru, fabric dominates in Maputsoe and that Maseru appears to have a lifeline for fabric waste.

Dr. Letzadzo Kometsi, a Senior Lecturer from the University said that they have contributed to the drafting of bill law that will be working on regulations of open waste burning.

He said that several Laws that exist in the country, are characterized by old Laws and are hub hazards and have no direct provisions that deal with solid waste management, particularly, waste from burning of solid waste.

“This is why we came up with the proposal after studying all those Laws, that says we need a legislation that works particularly with solid waste burning that we have set side by side with World Laws known as Stockholm convention and Basel convention”, said Kometsi.

He stated that the Law will work on waste, and the protection of the environment and has terminologies used in that category.

He also said that unlike any other known acts of Parliament in the country, this draft law emphasizes different categories that affect the Environment.