ZAMBIA – The Zambian government has urged the private sector to join in tackling the problem of waste disposal in the country.

There has been a growing concern about the accumulation of waste around the country which requires collaborative efforts with all stakeholders, including the private sector, says Collins Nzovu, the minister of Green Economy and Environment.

“The rate at which waste is accumulating in our country is worrying. It is therefore for the private sector to support government efforts of managing waste by coming up with strategies that will encourage sustainable practices throughout the entire cycle of a product,” said Nzovu.

In remarks delivered when he met chief executive officers from various companies at a meeting organized by the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM), the minister said the high and rapidly increasing levels of environmental degradation and the problem of waste management were presenting serious development issues and negatively affecting the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development.

The ministry was implementing the extended producer responsibility regulations which limit the production of single-use plastic carrier bags of less than 30 microns and thin flat bags to sustainably manage the waste in the country, the official disclosed.

The government has continued to monitor the implementation of the extended producer responsibility and was in the process of enhancing it to compel more manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of various products and items on the market to be responsible for creating appropriate infrastructure to recycle their waste to reduce pollution.

ZAM President Ashu Sagar said the concept of the circular economy was gaining recognition among manufacturers with significant economic and societal benefits.

The waste generated by manufacturers was of greater detriment to the environment hence the need for manufacturers to take part in managing the waste, thus the extended producer responsibility was an important tool to reverse the worrying trends of plastic pollution, reiterated Sagar.

Muntanga Lindunda, the ZAM chief executive officer, said the growing concern about waste management calls for a collective effort in coming up with systems that were efficient, and sustainable to conserve and reduce effects on the environment.

In March this year, Chilanga Cement in partnership with Nestlé East, and Southern African Region (ESAR) launched a plastic neutrality project that seeks to reduce plastic pollution in Zambia and the surrounding region.

According to the companies, the project targets to collect 160 tonnes of plastic waste generated in the value chain to be processed monthly.

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