Effective solid waste management service is vital in ensuring a sanitary environment for any population. With changes in lives and partial or total lock-downs, the provision of this crucial service was interrupted. With the spread of the virus, the general public is now using a lot of medical equipment including surgical gloves and masks. The unsafe disposal of this waste including the increase of medical waste, increases the risks and hazards especially to the waste handlers both formal and informal.
The virtual session on the 29th of October, 2020 was to highlight the issues that cities/municipalities are grappling with to ensure that this service is adequately provided, the workers are safe, and minimize the spread of the virus through the medical waste. Through cross-pollination kind of exchange between cities/municipalities in SSA and Kosovo, a very insightful discussion was experienced. 14 participants from Ghana, Kenya, Kosovo and Zambia with representatives from Nairobi, Kisumu, Accra, Kiambu, Gjilan and Vushtrri cities/ municipalities actively engaging.
5 presentations from cities/municipalities and input from UNEP defined the discussions. The presentations were from Nairobi City, Accra, Municipality of Vushtrri, Municipality of Gjilan and then we got the recommendations from UNEP on how cities can improve solid waste management during the pandemic. The session was moderated and provided an opportunity for discussion and exchange among the participants. The cities/municipalities sought to answer the following questions:
Solid waste management in Nairobi during the Covid-19 period
Ms. Patricia Akinyi
Covid-19 and solid waste management in Ghana
Ms. Charlotte Akwaah-Adjei
Current situation in the Municipality of Vushtrri – waste management system
Mayor Xhafer Tahiri
Solid waste management in the Municipality of Gjilan
Mayor Lutfi Haziri
UNEP’s recommendation to cities on solid waste management
Mr. Muhammed Omotola
Different cities/municipalities are at different levels in solid waste management with Municipalities like Vushtrri having waste separation and recycling practices. Nairobi City had a lot to learn from the two municipalities in Kosovo. Cities need to be intentional about continuous improvement in the waste management chain. With the rich and diverse input, the discussions were beneficial.
The highlights of the session were: