In Zambia, waste collection and processing are services that only happen in some areas — the rest are left with little to no way of disposing of waste. As we can see in other parts of the world, proper waste management contributes more to a nation’s economy than most people realize. In fact, waste management in North America is valued at “208 billion U.S. dollars,” while here on the entire African continent, it’s only valued at about 6.85 billion. To put that into perspective, the North American continent is home to about 580 million people. The African continent is home to approximately 1.3 billion. Those numbers are, alone, indicative of the issues at hand here in this continent — and, ultimately, Zambia.
Today, we’re going to briefly discuss how improved waste management can help underserved communities in Africa build a greener economy. We will also explore some of the actionable solutions that can help to improve waste management in these communities and ask that readers spread awareness of the importance of this topic, moving forward.
Why Is Waste Management So Important in Zambia?
Waste management is a critical issue for all countries, but it is especially important in the underserved communities within Zambia. Underserved communities often lack the resources and infrastructure to properly manage their waste, which can lead to a number of problems, including:
- Health hazards: Uncollected waste can attract vermin and insects, which can spread disease. Cholera is a common health concern in these areas.
- Environmental pollution: Unmanaged waste can pollute waterways and soil, harming plants and animals. This can make it more difficult for residents to grow and raise food.
- Economic losses: Waste can clog drains and roads, making it difficult to get around and conduct business. This hinders the local economy and furthers the issue.
Proper waste management can help to address all of these problems and build a greener economy. By collecting and recycling waste, communities can reduce their reliance on landfills and incinerators, which can release harmful pollutants into the environment. Waste can also be used to generate energy or create new products, which can create jobs and boost the economy.
What Can Be Done to Improve Waste Management & Handling?
There are a number of actionable solutions that can help to improve waste management in underserved communities in Zambia. These include:
- Investing in infrastructure
- Promoting recycling
- Supporting small businesses
By taking these steps, communities can improve their own waste management processes and build a greener economy. Let’s see how these improvements can have impacts on the communities in question:
Investing in Infrastructure in Zambia
Governments and donors need to invest in waste collection and disposal infrastructure, such as landfills, incinerators, and recycling centers. Investing in waste collection and disposal infrastructure is essential for improving waste management in underserved communities. This infrastructure can help to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and incinerators, and it can also help to create jobs.
Promoting Recycling in Zambia
Recycling is another important way to improve waste management. By recycling, communities can reduce the amount of waste that needs to be disposed of, and they can also create new products from recycled materials. Communities need to be educated about the importance of recycling and given the opportunity to recycle their waste.
Supporting Small Businesses
Small businesses can play a key role in waste management by collecting and recycling waste, or by using waste to create new products. These businesses can help to create jobs and boost the local economy. Some of these businesses can be considered “Waste-to-Energy” businesses and can help boost the local economy and provide new resources.
Standing with African Communities to Find Solutions
By taking these (and other) steps, Zambian communities can improve their waste management and build a greener economy. This process isn’t an easy one – after all, people have been living surrounded by waste and recyclable materials for a long time, and many of them have no idea how it’s impacting theirs and their families’ lives.
We’re passionate about Zambia’s and greater Africa’s underserved communities – and helping them with waste management solutions is a great way to start. If you’d like to get involved with our efforts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on our contact page.