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Solid Waste, A Source Of Income During Lockdown In Zimbabwe

By Talent Katsande

Scrap is a key input for Zimbabwe which is contributing to the economy, creating jobs and lifting people out of poverty and hunger during and after lockdown period.

Despite many challenges local authorities face in their operations, they have failed to organise and introduce another source which generates income enough to cover their running even salary expenses.

Byron Chikwaturi at Kuwadzana 1 scrap yard

Solid waste management has been and is a subject that has been introduced by the Climate Change Management Department and discussed but nothing much has been done to curb the challenge of solid waste and refuse collection and management.

Kuwadzana 1 Home Industry, has become a scrap yard which has been identified as a cash cow for youths and younger generation during lockdown while schools are closed.

Residents are partaking a trash to cash business as a community project which has boomed during the lockdown era whereby they collect scrap and sell it to industries such as Gazaland, Waverly and Trrigas.

Byron Chikwaturi (23), told Post On Sunday that it has become his everyday routine to wake up before the sun rise wandering off streets searching for scrap materials from different dumping sites.

“This is how we are earning a living during this lockdown after losing our jobs.

“We rummage through roadside trash and rubbish dumps for plastic bottle drinks, broken buckets, empty canes, toothless combs, lunchboxes and anything else that can feed these recycling industries” Byron added.

On average, he highlighted that he get USD $10 per day rounding up a monthly income of USD $300 per month, after selling polypropylene (PP) which includes food containers such as yoghurts at a rate of 0,75c per kilogram and 1 tan bag at approximately USD $100.

Adding to that, the young man told this publication that many have dropped out of schools and they are surviving through selling of scrap metal and solid Waste, better than gambling and stealing of people’s belongings.

“This has enabled us to take care of our families we pay our rentals, school fees and buy some new clothes as well as taking care of our jobless parents and guardians”.

Michael Madzorera, showing his collecting of solid waste separating plastic from metal objects

Micheal Madzorera (15) said the collection and selling of solid waste and scrap metal is now the order of the day across the country and competition is now growing, affecting the pricing of our waste per kg.

“We were just 9 of us when we started doing this business, but now there are about fifty to sixty rag pickers at the Kuwadzana 1 Home Industry”.

‘’Due to Covid, we were unable to collect scrap at our level best because our starting and finishing time was limited by curfew and some people wanted social distances from their bins especially in low density suburbs’’.

Plastic recycling is used to produce irrigation pipes, thick plastic waterproofs used as covering, slippers, soap cases, ythene bags among other things while metal scrap is used to make wide range of products including metal itself.

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality, Munesushe Munodawafa has also been on the forefront advising government and private players to generate income and clean energy from solid waste.