FINANCE minister Bwalya Ng’andu says the poor management of waste has made Lusaka untidy and compromised the hygiene of its dwellers.
During the signing ceremony between Zambia and Japan on Japan’s grant aid to Zambia of $2.76 million “economic and social development programme for Zambia” – supply and procurement of landfill equipment for improved solid waste management in the City of Lusaka yesterday, Dr Ng’andu said last year two exchange notes and grant agreements signifying Japan’s support to the people of Zambia was signed.
He said the first agreement related to the upgrading of two health centres into district hospitals in Mushili in Ndola and Chamboli in Kitwe at cost of $24 million.
Dr Ng’andu said the agreement was signed in July 2020 and works were scheduled to commence immediately.
He said unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic project mobilisation could not commence as planned although he had been advised that the ground breaking ceremony would take place shortly.
Dr Ng’andu said the other grant agreement which was signed in August 2020 was for the provision of medical equipment for selected hospitals at a cost of $1.8 million.
“The range of equipment to be supplied under this agreement includes; blood analyzers, oxygen generators, portable digital X-ray machines, portable ultra sound machines and electrocadiography, all which are essential and capable of greatly upgrading the delivery capacity of our hospitals. Again, due to the impact of COVID-19, the contractual agreements that should have preceded the delivery of this equipment have not been completed. And for that reason, delivery of equipment has not been effected,” he said. “However, we look forward to this delivery as soon as the challenges that have been presented by COVID-19 pandemic are overcome.”
Dr Ng’andu noted Japan’s continued support to many other projects and programmes that had been extended to various sectors such as education, agriculture, energy, private sector development, transport and communications, environment, water and sanitation and health.
He said other significant programmes and projects include the construction of the inner-ring road in Lusaka, sometimes referred to as the “Tokyo way road”, the prestigious scholarship programme that offers scholarships to Zambian students wishing to pursue their studies at various Japanese universities and the national Kaizen project, a technical cooperation project that established the Kaizen Institute of Zambia.
Dr Ng’andu said the support the Lusaka City Council was receiving was timely.
He said this was because Lusaka was currently faced with serious solid waste management challenges in the form of erratic garbage collection and poor management of the Chunga dump site which is the final disposal site in Lusaka.
“Needless to say, the poor management of solid waste has been a source of various health challenges such as cholera and other water-borne diseases. Further, the poor management of waste has made Lusaka untidy and compromised the hygiene of its dwellers. This has undermined the attractiveness of Lusaka city for tourism purposes, robbing it of its potential stunning ambience it can have,” he said.
Dr Ng’andu said the serious waste challenge in Lusaka had contributed to air pollution as people resort to unsanitary means of waste disposal such as burning refuse which pollutes the air and contributes to respiratory health problems.
He said the poor state of Lusaka’s solid waste management had led to missed recycling opportunities hampering governments aspirations of utilising the Chunga dump site for generating electricity from waste.
“One of the reasons the City of Lusaka has had this challenge can partly be attributed to lack of appropriate equipment. Additionally, the current stock of waste collection equipment is also inadequate and obsolete. Therefore, it cannot support the sustainable management of waste,” he said.
Dr Ng’andu said with the provision of equipment that will be supplied such as a landfill compactor, an excavator, a bulldozer, a front end loader, backhoe loader, a tipper truck, a water bowser and refuse compactor, there was expected to see an improvement in the capacity of Lusaka City Council to manage waste collection.
“We envisage to have cleaner public spaces that will improve sanitation and address the threat of cholera including COVID-19 that tends to thrive on unhygienic surfaces. The new equipment will enable the Lusaka City Council remove refuse from the public sphere more effectively and curtail air and water pollution,” said Dr Ng’andu. “The equipment will be pivotal in augmenting government’s efforts of reducing pollution and improving sanitation to enhance the health, social and economic wellbeing of the people of Lusaka. A cleaner Lusaka will provide better opportunities for tourism activities particularly conference tourism and improve the city’s tourism profile. Until now, the lack of waste collection equipment has impeded government to operationalise the Lusaka Integrated Solid Waste Management (LISWM) Company. The provision of this equipment will contribute to government’s efforts of initiating operations of the Lusaka Integrated Solid Waste Management Company. The company will be responsible for waste management including waste collection and disposal in the City of Lusaka”
And Ambassador Ryuta Mizuuchi said Japan’s decision to support the Zambian government through “this project is in line with Japan’s support announced at the TICAD7 in 2019, for strengthening waste management based on the African Clean Cities Platform”.
“The Embassy of Japan in Zambia hopes that this project will bear fruit and achieve the aforementioned goal, in a significant manner,” said Ambassador Mizuuchi.