Neno Decries Poor Waste Management amid COVID-19

Masks are not managed well in most cases Masks are not managed well in most cases - pic by Steve Kalungwe

Waste management during the Covid-19 pandemic, with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), is increasingly becoming a problem in most district councils across the country, with Neno emerging as having no departmental waste management plan, a development which is hindering Water, Sanitation and Hygiene agenda.

According to Neno district council environmental officer Charlotte Neema, lack of waste management plan in departments at council level is fueling unfriendly environmental waste management disposal which is harming the ecosystem.

"For example when I came here in January this year, I was shocked to learn that departments were and are still operating without a waste management plan, this should be a norm to have one per department for effective disposal of waste especially during this Covid-19 pandemic when unrecyclable masks are being used", she said.

She further noted that, most wastes especially thin plastics which are still been used in the districts markets despite a ban by the courts in the country, are being disposed of anyhow, which is a threat to the environment as they take long to decompose.

In his remarks Neno district council Water officer James Mando acknowledged Neema's sentiments saying lack of district waste management plan is hazardous to the environment but plans with the help of Save the Children are under way to harmonize civil society WASH clusters with those by the district council in order to manage well the waste.

"Indeed we do not have waste management plan in our respective departments at the council, but we are going to have those plans soon in order to achieve friendly environmental waste management disposal especially during this period of Covid-19 pandemic", said Mando.

Mando however underscored the need for all WASH activities being implemented by different stakeholders in the district to be harmonized so that there is coordination to avoid duplication of WASH cluster activities.

"Working together with CSO's will greatly compliment government efforts of trying to make sure that health issues are achieved and also to make sure that both solid and liquid wastes are managed well by both sides", he conclude.

Red-Cross society district coordinator Wanangwa Nkhata has since pledged to work with the district council in waste management saying a lot of PPE's are being disposed of anyhow, posing a danger to lives of many people hence a need for massive sensitization on PPE's disposal.

Save the Children Malawi has embarked on a drive to revive and inject more energy into district WASH clusters in a bid to make Covid-19 wastes managable.

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