Cabinet at its 19th meeting on Wednesday approved the publication and introduction of The Bill, entitled, “Solid Waste Regulation and Management Bill, 2018” in Parliament during the current sitting.
The objectives of this Bill, are to provide for the sustainable regulation and management of solid waste, general and self-service solid waste services, the incorporation of solid waste management companies and define their statutory functions, the licensing of solid waste service providers, operators and self-service solid waste providers and provide for their functions and the regulation, operation, maintenance and construction of landfills and other disposal facilities.
The Bill will also provide for the setting and approval of tariffs for management of solid waste and provision of solid waste services.
Chief Government spokesperson Dora Siliya said the management of Solid Waste has over the years been a challenge for the towns and cities in the country mainly due to increased population and economic activities, which have led to increased generation of waste.
She said if left unchanged, this would become a bigger challenge as the population increases adding that the increased generation of waste has posed a burden on the municipal budget due to the high costs associated to its management.
“Local Authorities are often characterized by dysfunctional waste management systems, with much of the waste in the streets, roadside, drainages and open areas remaining uncollected. Generally, only a small portion of the waste generated through different socio-economic activities is collected and transported for safe disposal”, she said.
She said this inevitably compromises the environmental quality of many urban areas, a situation that has contributed to poor public health.
Ms. Siliya said there is need, therefore, to strengthen the solid waste management sector and create an enabling environment for the private sector to create more opportunities.
She said this can only be enhanced by creating a business dimension of service provision coupled with good corporate governance principles to ensure transparency in its operation.
“In view of the importance Government attaches to the issue of waste management, the Ministry of Local Government in conjunction with the Millennium Challenge Account, Zambia, conducted a study on the state of solid waste management. The study results have necessitated the proposal to establish an autonomous Solid Waste Management Utility so as to address solid waste management challenges in the country”, She added.
Ms. Siliya said Cabinet is optimistic that the introduction of a comprehensive legislation on Solid Waste Regulation and Management will provide for sustainable regulation and effective management of solid waste in the country.
She said the Bill, when enacted, will further streamline the role of local authorities in solid waste management as provided for by the Constitution.