Informal residents tackle waste

24 September 2020 | Environment

Windhoek • [email protected]

With an estimated 61 tonnes of human faeces plus household trash dumped in Windhoek’s informal settlement open areas every day, the community on Saturday took part in a clean-up campaign to restore dignity, health and safety to their lives.
The clean-up is the first of a series of cleaning events planned for the Samora Machel and Moses //Garoeb constituencies in aid of their aim to become open defecation free zones (ODF) and to improve solid waste removal systems.
Open defecation remains a significant problem countrywide, with an estimated 50% of informal settlement residents living without toilets.
Informal areas are battered by a lack of basic services many Namibians take for granted, such as piped water, toilets, electricity and refuse removal.
These conditions have spurred on a three-year hepatitis E epidemic that has made thousands around the country ill and killed dozens in informal settlements.
The Covid-19 pandemic has further highlighted the need for sanitation as a crucial means to end the spread of disease.

Calculations shared by the Development Workshop of Namibia (DWN) indicate that at least 84 000 urban households around the country are without access to toilets. Based on average household members, this indicates that around 287 300 urban Namibians use riverbeds or open green spaces to defecate.
That amounts to an estimated 143 tonnes of human faeces deposited in open areas of Namibia daily.
In the Khomas region, an estimated 122 200 residents do not have toilets. They are estimated to deposit around 61 tonnes of faeces in riverbeds and other open areas every day, and 21 960 tonnes, or 21 million kilograms, annually in and around Windhoek.
Open area defecation poses not only health but also environmental risks to residents and underground water systems. Moreover, it puts vulnerable residents at risk of crime and impedes personal dignity.
In addition, incalculable amounts of household garbage are dumped in the open where refuse removal services are scarce and erratic.

“We live in very dangerous conditions in informal settlements,” Berthold Haingura, a Samora Machel constituency coordinator, said on Saturday during the clean-up campaign. “The main challenge we face here is the lack of services. Most of the people who live here practice open defecation. This is a hazard to human health. We also face the challenge of no water, no electricity and high rates of crime.”
He and other community leaders teamed up with the DWN and partners to implement a community-led sanitation (CLTS) programme last year, which is an approach that sensitises residents about the health dangers associated with open defecation and provides low-cost sanitation solutions to apply in communities.
Haingura said although it has “not always been easy” to work towards improved conditions in their areas, including working with the City of Windhoek, “we are really pushing to improve the lives of residents. We hope that in days to come we will achieve our goals.”
Ultimately, he says, the community wants to live in formal conditions, with access to basic services and an overall safer and healthier environment. “We hope with these interventions with those assisting us, we will obtain the status that will save the communities in the informal settlements.”
On Saturday, thousands of residents were ready to start work at 06:00, including young children, elders, women and men. “The volunteers on the ground are so committed. They are a dedicated team,” he said.
DWN and donors ensured that the community was armed with thousands of rubbish bags, which ran out quicker than anticipated.
Their willingness to spend the day wading into dirty and often dangerous areas, signals their hope for a better life, Haingura stressed.
“Because of the end of the day, we want to achieve defecation-free areas. We want everyone to have a toilet, and people not using riverbeds. We would like to see ourselves also live with lights, electricity, in a formal and safe environment.”

Take charge
“We encourage community members and leaders to be in charge and at the forefront of their sanitation situation. As a CLTS member, we educate on general hygiene, waste management, hepatitis-E and how to prevent it,” Gotlieb Sheya Thimo of the DWN said on Saturday.
The DWN is currently implementing three main programmes countrywide, including a land-for-housing project, the sanitation and Covid-19 emergency response projects in the informal settlements, and an early childhood development programme.
The organisation, together with community volunteers, has installed more than 48 000 tippy-tap hand-washing devices in informal settlements since March this year in response to the pandemic.
Thimo said Saturday’s clean-up campaign was the first of a planned series as part of the organisations’ drive to ensure the community takes the lead to improve sanitation in their areas.
“It takes a collective community to take up the responsibility to manage their waste. So, if every individual in this area does not dump waste in the riverbed, and puts it at the identified waste hotspots, then it can create an efficient system. But the system only runs if it is collectively implemented, by the city and the people.”

Similar News


Local musos join global wildlife campaign

2 weeks ago - 15 October 2020 | Environment

Namibian stars Lioness, Suzy Eises and Elemotho have teamed up with the international organisations Conservation Music and Earthsong to support the Cheetah Conservation Fund in...

We’ll be counting game

2 weeks ago - 12 October 2020 | Environment

With the support of the ministry of environment, forestry and tourism (MEFT), the Nyae Nyae Conservancy undertook its annual game count in September.This involved wildlife...

Sperrgebiet wildflower guide now available as e-book

4 weeks ago - 01 October 2020 | Environment

Windhoek • Antje BurkeThe south-west corner of Namibia not only harbours diamonds but something equally precious – the only large, continuous piece of the Succulent...

Pandemic puts pressure on nature conservation

1 month - 22 September 2020 | Environment

Windhoek • Steffi BalzarThe German Organisation for International Cooperation (GIZ) granted financial support to 25 conservancies since May, as part of the project for community-based...

Hungry lions help to clean up

1 month - 21 September 2020 | Environment

More than 4 000 Hungry Lion staff members, including those in Windhoek took part in World Clean-Up Day, which was celebrated on Saturday. All over...

International accolade for EIF

1 month - 16 September 2020 | Environment

The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) received a certificate of merit for outstanding Sustainable Project Financing at the Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Awards, recognising its...

Ozone for life!

1 month - 16 September 2020 | Environment

Namibia, along with the rest of the world, celebrates 35 years of the Vienna Convention and 35 years of global ozone layer protection today.In a...

Opportunities for encroacher bush

1 month - 07 September 2020 | Environment

Windhoek • Erastus Ngaruka & Arnoldt //GasebBush encroachment can be defined as dominant increase in density of woody plant species on a piece of land....

International support for San

1 month - 07 September 2020 | Environment

The impact of Covid-19 on Namibia’s economy is considerable. However, the impact on many poor rural communities, in particular communal conservancies, could be even greater...

Don’t dump oil in City sewers

2 months ago - 27 August 2020 | Environment

The City of Windhoek (CoW) said that it has noticed an increase in the unsafe disposal of used motor oil, mainly due to increased backyard...

Latest News

Grieving parents sue health ministry...

2 days ago - 29 October 2020 | Health

Windhoek • [email protected] pair of grieving parents is suing the health ministry for between N$2 million and N$3 million for breach of duties and gross...

NBL celebrates a centenary

2 days ago - 29 October 2020 | Business

“We are officially 100 years old today and what an adventurous journey it has been for our business!” says an excited Marco Wenk, managing director...

Breast cancer: Early detection saves...

2 days ago - 29 October 2020 | Opinion

Windhoek • Marjolize ScholtzOctober is breast cancer awareness month and this year it is celebrated under the theme ‘Give Hope. Save Lives.”So far, 2020 has...

Walking the talk

3 days ago - 28 October 2020 | Society

It began as an invitation for a group of friends to take a casual walk in support of breast cancer awareness last week. But it...

Namibia ready for Eilat!

4 days ago - 27 October 2020 | Sports

The world watched on Sunday and Monday, as the Namibian Esports team took on the team from South Africa online in the Southern Africa Region...

Hot hockey on the cards

4 days ago - 27 October 2020 | Sports

The Namibia National Inline Hockey (NIIHA) team trials where held last weekend and while the temperature outside was hot, the action inside was on fire!This...

Micro grant for Gobabis foundation

4 days ago - 27 October 2020 | Society

The Light for the Children Foundation in Gobabis received N$180 000 from the German embassy's micro project fund to implement safety measures at its school...

Aiming for top cycling honours

4 days ago - 27 October 2020 | Sports

The Nedbank Desert Dash is the principle for every cyclist, and this year, the Namibia Cleaning Chemical Solutions (NCCS) Cymot Pro Cycling team says the...

Purchasing property for the parents

4 days ago - 27 October 2020 | Life Style

It is not uncommon for those who find themselves in a better financial position than that of their parents, to purchase a property on their...

Load More