By Shingirai Vambe
Mutare –Parliament has started a fact finding mission on local authorities’ waste management systems and projects undertaken using devolution funds.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing chaired by Harare Metropolitan Senator Miriam Chikukwa visited Mutasa District to assess progress regarding waste collection, separation and management in line with the new climate change policy and Covid-19 guidelines.
Local authorities have been approached by various ministries, the Climate Change Management Department and stakeholders in the management of waste, as a climate action, starting by collection, separation and disposal without causing harm to the environment, the people around and the ozone layer.
The committee found out that in Mutasa District, for instance, there are no initiatives or plans to deal with waste.
There are no plans to generate income or even recycle waste.
Chikukwa on Monday morning told the Post On Sunday that the committee was disappointed with what they saw in Mutasa district.
“We have visited areas where the council is undertaking various projects using devolution funds and indeed they are doing a great job, what is disappointing is that the local authority does not have a dump site, neither do they have a process of separating waste before they dispose of it in all the 14 centres.
“The area we have visited it’s not a standard dumping site, anyone can do this at his or her back yard, they need a proper dumping site which we can all see it is properly managed,” she said.
The council shifted the blame to the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), Mutasa acting CEO, Fredrick Jongwe told legislator that they had since approached EMA to assist them in setting up a dumping site but nothing had happened in three years.
Besides waste disposed challenges, Mutasa District boasts of timber plantations and council lamented air pollution attributed by the burning of the saw dust by businesses that operate saw mills.
However secretary for Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Munesushe Munoidawafa had earlier highlighted the need to engage with private stakeholders in Public-Private Partnership engagement to generate revenue and clean energy through waste.
The committee has also visited Mutare City Council today and it will visit Nyanga Rural District Council tomorrow morning before they leave for Harare.