Zimbabwe Solid Waste
Management Indaba 2017
In cooperation with
1. The Zimbabwe Solid Waste Management Indaba was jointly
organized by the Zimbabwe Chapter of the Institute of Waste
Management of Southern Africa, The Environmental
Management Agency and the Urban Councils Association of
Zimbabwe with the financial and logistical support of GIZ.
2. This indaba was organized on the background of the mounting
solid waste challenges in Zimbabwe and the need to find
sustainable solutions not just to address the existing challenges
but also to keep solid waste management under control into the
3. The main participants at the Indaba where town clerks in
Zimbabwe’s local authorities, waste management officers and
local and international solid waste management experts. Town
clerks participated for the following reasons,
a. Town clerks are key decision makers in solid waste
management but they are often excluded from key
aspects of solid waste management, making it difficult to
make informed decisions when it comes to solid waste
b. Waste management officers in local authorities could
benefit from the experiences of experts in solid waste
management as well as share experiences among
themselves. This often goes a long way towards
improving the practice of solid waste management
4. The Indaba consisted of presentations, discussions and
SUMMARY OF PRESENTATIONS
Welcome Remarks by UCAZ
Mr. Mutekede welcomed delegates to the workshop. He highlighted the importance of solid waste
management as a key area of service delivery in local authorities. He said the Indaba came at a time
when local authorities were facing some challenges in solid waste management and hoped that the
Indaba would contribute significantly to towards a sustainable solution.
Presentation by Local Authorities
The presentation by local authorities highlighted the strong link between solid waste management and
health, providing a strong case for improving service delivery in solid waste management in
Zimbabwe’s urban communities. This presentation exposed the often ignored fact that waste
management is not just an aesthetic issue but also a health issue. The Local authorities highlighted the
Waste collection is a major attribute by local authorities are measured in service delivery
Diseases due to waste management are on the increase
Communities living with uncollected garbage are twice more likely to come down with
Waste generation in urban areas is 0.23-3Kg per capita per day
Higher proportion of the waste generated could be recycled
40% of health budgets is reserved for solid waste management
Inadequate waste management fleets coupled with inappropriate equipment is a major
handicap for local authorities
Presentation by EMA
Mrs Magwaza provided an overview of the solid waste management situation in Zimbabwe, providing
statistics on solid waste management as well as solid waste management initiatives by EMA. Mrs
Magwaza also presented Zimbabwe’s Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan to the participants,
highlighting that integrated solid waste management will go a long way towards solving the country’s
solid waste management challenges.
Mrs Magwaza highlighted that scrap metal, diapers, medical waste, kaylite and electronic waste
remained a big challenge for Zimbabwe.
Presentation by Richard Emery
Richard Emery’s presentation focused on solid waste management infrastructure, sharing his
experiences in waste diversion from landfills in South Africa. Key points included the importance of the
private sector in supporting service delivery as well as how important it is for local authorities to support
private players including providing infrastructure and land space where possible. He also stressed that
moving from one solid waste system to another costs money. In addition, he emphasized that
engineered landfills came along with associated costs which local authorities must plan for in advance.
He emphasized the importance of appropriate technology.
Presentation by Brian McCarthy
Brian McCarthy focused on creating an enabling environment for sustainable solid waste management
and gave a detailed account of solid waste challenges in different parts of the developing world
including Africa. He emphasized how difficult it was to deal with solid waste management challenges as
well as the pitfalls associated with attempts to use high tech in addressing solid waste management
operations in developing countries. He showed examples of expensive technologies such as
engineered landfills that have failed to solve solid waste management. He also showed how simple
methods and technologies are being used to solve solid waste management challenges.
Using a simple practical exercise in designing a solid waste management system, Brian demonstrated
the importance of decision-making in the design of integrated solid waste management systems and
especially in the choice of technology and equipment.
Presentation by Edgar Chilanzi Mulwanda
Mr Mulwanda’s shared key aspects of the solid waste management situation in Lusaka (Zambia) and
how Lusaka’s City Councils solid waste management system which is an integration of three key
1. Lusaka City Council
2. Private Sector
3. Community Based Enterprises
The presentation highlighted the following key aspects in solid waste management
Community involvement in solid waste management can produce results if such involvement
generates income for the players
Creativity and innovation can make significant contributions to solid waste management
Engineered landfills, though desirable, require careful consideration because they also require
moderate to high operational costs. In other words, sound management of engineered landfills
is as important as having them.
Presentation by BCHOD
BCHOD presented on their experience in designing and constructing engineered landfills in Zimbabwe.
The presentation highlighted the costs of constructing engineered landfills and how innovation can
offsets some of the costs. In particular, BCHOD focussed on the use of clay liners as an alternative to
synthetic liners (geo-membranes) in the construction of liners.
Presentation by Simon Bere
This presentation highlighted the benefits of integrated solid waste management over the traditional
collect, transport and dispose model. It also provided an outline of how an integrated solid waste
management strategy can be developed, emphasizing the importance of using the correct process
including the involvement of all key stakeholders. In addition, the presentation emphasized the
importance of using waste management economics, including waste management costs as a basis for
choosing an integrated solid waste management operation. The key message was local authorities
would benefit from moving from the refuse collection and disposal model to the integrated solid waste
management model which begins with an integrated solid waste management strategy (or strategic
solid waste management plan) for each local authority. On funding for waste management operations,
Bere highlighted that there were many options for funding that were available if local authorities were
able to align their waste management activities with global environment and development initiatives
such as climate change, sustainable development goals and sustainable cities.
Presentation by a Private Waste Recycler
This presentation represented some waste management initiatives and activities taking place in
Zimbabwe by independent, non-local authority actors. This particular waste recycler collects waste from
selected homes and brings the waste to a recycling site where she recovers the recyclables and sells
them. Although no financial data was revealed, the presentation highlighted the potential for private
sector participation in solid waste management.
The Zimbabwe Solid Waste Management Indaba was interspaced with discussions and debate. For
purposes of documentation, individual contributions have been collated, evaluated and synthesized into
the following key points.
1. The local authorities expressed concern that the roles between EMA and Local authorities in
solid waste management needed to be clarified, including to what extent EMA is expected by
law to provide financial support to local authorities in addressing solid waste management
2. The need for waste management data for planning and making decisions came out in the fore
at the Indaba. This data included the waste characterization, waste generation rates and
waste management costs.
3. There was a general consensus by local authorities on the need to move from the current
refuse collection and disposal to integrated solid waste management operations
4. Although many local authorities’ stated that waste management efforts were hampered by
lack of adequate waste management equipment such a vehicles and landfill management
equipment, trying to address the waste management challenges by acquiring more such
assets would not be sustainable.
5. Funding of solid waste management activities, initiatives, programs and operations came to
the fore at the indaba. Local authorities generally funded solid waste management operations
from service rates. However, there is the opportunity to tap into other funds that support
environmental issues such as climate change, support for sustainable development objectives
and sustainable cities.
6. Whereas local authorities often funded and owned solid waste management infrastructure
independently, there was the opportunities for joint ownership of some infrastructure and
equipment, thus closing the funding gaps and maximizing on the return on investment.
7. Capacity building in solid waste management is a key factor towards sustainable solid waste
management in Zimbabwe’s local authorities.
8. It may be important for local authorities that already have strategic solid waste management
plans to submit the plans for independent review and possible upgrade.
9. Selecting solid waste management treatment options requires due consideration to avoid
investing in expensive waste treatment options or waste treatment options that may become
unsustainable and unviable in the long run.
10. Continuous dialogue and sharing of experiences among local authorities is an important
activity for improving solid waste management.
11. Private sector participation is key to successful solid waste management. For example,
Delta’s participation in waste recycling efforts is making a significant contribution although
there was a call for Delta to do more in helping with the management of waste products from
12. There was a call for more support to private players in solid waste management by local
authorities and central government. In the case of central government there was a call for
policy support in the use of composting produce and vermicomposting technology.
13. There were recommendations that local authorities needed to consider the appropriateness of
technology to avoid technology that may malfunction, fail to perform or become expensive for
local authorities. Expensive, inappropriate technologies are often chosen at the detriment of
cheaper, more efficient technologies with higher returns on investment.
14. Education and awareness in solid waste management, especially in waste reduction, proper
waste disposal and behavioral change is an effective intervention that requires more attention
by local authorities.
1. Although the solid waste situation in Zimbabwe is not good and even though the situation could
possibly worsen, the situation can be improved through changes in approach as well as through
building the capacity of local authorities in integrated solid waste management.
2. Financial and equipment challenges can be improved by tapping into non-traditional sources of
funding that include the different environmental support funds, for example, funds that support
climate change initiatives and programs.
3. Composting and recycling are typical opportunities and possibilities that can dramatically
improve the solid waste situation in many local authorities, provided they are undertaken within
the framework of integrated solid waste management.
4. Waste characterization, waste management economics, accounting and costing are critical
elements in the effective planning for sustainable solid waste management operations.
5. Successful and sustainable solid waste management requires a multi-stakeholder approach
including community groups, the residents and the private sector. Local authorities have no
capacity to do everything by themselves.
6. Small but significant achievements can be made in solid waste management if local authorities
can share experiences and build on waste management initiatives within their local authorities.
7. There is need to carry the momentum generated by the workshop forward by embracing
integrated solid waste management.