In pursuit of 'zero waste', Senegalese tackle trash

Success will require a mindset change from industry and from residents themselves.

05 June 2019 | Economics

We sweep up, we collect, but two minutes later, it's like nothing has been done. - Lamine Kebe, Coordinator:UCG

Vincent Bado - Once an idyllic stretch of white beach enticing fishermen and tourists alike, decades of factory and household waste have turned Senegal's Hann Bay into a dump.

The shore, which separates an industrial zone in the capital Dakar from the Atlantic Ocean, is a shocking sight.

It is littered with rotting fish and plastic rubbish as far as the eye can see.

Dubbed "Trash Bay" by some, the sordid scene is symptomatic of a national environmental disaster whose solution has fallen on the shoulders of private citizens.

Lacking sufficient waste removal services, residents either have to roll up their sleeves as volunteers trash collectors, or pay private firms to clean up.

The pollution problem is receiving more attention, with president Macky Sall broaching the issue in his April 2 re-inauguration speech which mooted a "zero waste" future for Senegal, a country whose cities and towns are notorious for their mountains of plastic waste.

He set no deadlines, however, nor did he provide a blueprint for achieving the goal.

Services lacking

On paper, trash collection in greater Dakar is a government service. But more than 10% of households do not have rubbish pickup, according to Lamine Kebe, a coordinator for the public waste-gathering service UCG.

In some areas this percentage is far higher, particularly in far-flung suburbs. There, rubbish trucks battle to make their way through litter-strewn streets.

On a recent Saturday morning, a few dozen young people sporting gloves, spades and rubbish bags were hard at work in Hann Bay, heeding a cleanup call from Senegal Entraide, a grouping of public service volunteers.

The French Development Agency (ADF), which backs measures to clean the bay, notes that "60% of Senegal's manufacturing industry lies along Hann Bay and empties its polluted effluents directly into the bay".

Residents, too, play their part, dumping everything from plastic bags and clothes to kitchen scraps, animal carcasses and toilet waste.

"Citizens should not ask what their district can do for them, but what they can do for their district," said Senegal Entraide president Mahmoud Sy in a play on the late US President John F. Kennedy's 1961 inauguration speech.

Informal business

The cleanup task is too big for volunteers alone, and many people have started small, informal businesses, earning cash to take away the trash.

One such entrepreneur, Ma Niang Dieng, daily sends carts hauled by donkeys or horses around the alleyways of Rufisque, a labyrinthine Dakar suburb home to a major industrial zone.

Many of the roads are made of dirt, and impossible for cars or trucks to navigate.

"These are the zones where we work," Dieng explained. In the paved parts, public lorries fetch the waste, "but it is in the nooks and crannies that we intervene most of the time."

Standing on a waste heap, Dieng observed the comings and goings of his employees, responsible for bringing garbage to a local depot from where a UCG truck would take it to the city's rubbish tip.

Fees

Residents pay a monthly fee of 1 500 CFA francs (about US$2.60) for Dieng's services, "which isn't expensive," in the view of a Rufisque school headmaster, Moustapha M'Baye.

Dieng told AFP he pays each of his cart drivers about 55 000 CFA francs (US$94) per month.

Such private initiative is welcomed by the UCG, Kebe said.

Every day, UCG lorries collect some 2 400 tonnes of waste in the greater Dakar region, which has a population of more than three million.

"We don't have the human and material resources to deploy to every district," Kebe said. "So when an association accompanies the process, we can only congratulate them."

But meeting Sall's ambitious long-term goal of "zero waste" is more than a matter of resources, Kebe added. Success will also require a mindset change from industry and from residents themselves.

"We sweep up, we collect, but two minutes later, it's like nothing has been done," said Kebe.

Similar News

 

Treasury demands reports of lockdown procurement

14 hours ago | Economics

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKThe ministry of finance will demand full reports from public entities, ministries, agencies and offices detailing procurement expenditure incurred during stage one of the...

Credit extension dries up

1 day - 02 June 2020 | Economics

Cirrus Securities has released information derived from private sector credit extension (PSCE) figures for April 2020, painting a bleak picture of the Namibian business landscape....

Stimulus in battle to survive

1 day - 02 June 2020 | Economics

Andrew Rowles, CFO for Ashburton Namibia: “We expect that the Namibian recession will deepen even further, with the short- to medium-term outlook remaining very challenging.”Augetto...

Water a powerful weapon

1 day - 02 June 2020 | Economics

Phillepus ­Uusiku With water being an essential resource to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, the sector received the third-largest share behind transport and education in...

Transport drives development budget ...

2 days ago - 01 June 2020 | Economics

Phillepus Uusiku - Sectors that have the potential to create employment and boost overall output such as the agricultural sector got a share of 8%...

Tourism faces biggest slump since ‘50s

2 days ago - 01 June 2020 | Economics

Empty sunbeds lie along a beach in the Cypriot resort town of Ayia Napa. International tourism is set to fall by 70% this year, marking...

Payroll gobbles bigger income chunk

5 days ago - 29 May 2020 | Economics

Jo-Maré Duddy – Nearly N$560 out of every N$1 000 of government’s own revenue in 2020/21 will pay for civil servants’ salaries and benefits, leaving...

We are not at war - Kamwanyah

5 days ago - 29 May 2020 | Economics

Kenya KamboweRUNDUPolitical commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah has questioned why government continues to divert billions of dollars to the defence ministry, while the country is not under...

No money to pay green scheme workers

6 days ago - 28 May 2020 | Economics

The managing director of the Agricultural Business Development Agency (AgriBusDev), Petrus Uugwanga, says the agency does not have enough money to pay the outstanding salaries...

Price monster remains meek in April

6 days ago - 28 May 2020 | Economics

The fallout from the coronavirus has had a large disinflationary effect on prices in April due to the large demand shock and plunge in oil...

Latest News

Sean K part of Covid-19...

WINDHOEK EXPRESSWINDHOEKNamibian crooner Sean K is one of 11 African artists who worked on a collaborative song to thank healthcare workers for their commitment and...

2020 Mining Expo and Conference...

14 hours ago | Business

Phillepus Uusiku The Mining Expo and Conference that was scheduled for 2-3 September 2020, after having been postponed from 22-23 April, has been cancelled. The...

NBL ready to deliver

14 hours ago | Business

Phillepus UusikuLife is slowing returning to normal as Namibians navigate the country’s gradual reopening following an easing of trade restrictions which were necessitated to combat...

Treasury demands reports of lockdown...

14 hours ago | Economics

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKThe ministry of finance will demand full reports from public entities, ministries, agencies and offices detailing procurement expenditure incurred during stage one of the...

Over 120 lose jobs at...

14 hours ago | Labour

KENYA KAMBOWERUNDUAbout 120 people lost their jobs yesterday after a fallout between Chinese-born business magnate Stina Wu and a subcontractor that labour inspectors found to...

Namibia’s food security paradox

14 hours ago | Agriculture

Venomukona Tjiseua, sustainable agriculturalist: “The government must revisit its priority list and place agriculture at its correct spot.”With jobs disappearing, incomes drying up and savings...

The contest for hearts and...

14 hours ago | Opinion

Nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight, when everything remains seemingly unchanged.The above quote by...

Indemnity forms a matter of...

14 hours ago | Education

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKWith some learners expected to return to schools today, education ministry executive director Sanet Steenkamp says parents will have to trust that schools have...

SA loosens lockdown to revive...

14 hours ago | International

South Africa sought to revive its stuttering economy on Monday with a partial lifting of its coronavirus lockdown, letting people out for work, worship or...

Load More