The growing waste management problem in the Kingdom of Swaziland can be seen as a symptom of many factors. Industrialisation, consumer patterns, urbanisation and population growth as well as the absence of waste management information has precluded strategic planning in the past.
This has prevented the implementation of appropriate remedial action such as changes in behavioural patterns; establishment of waste infrastructure and the development of required legislation in order to prevent, recycle and eventually handle waste that must be collected, treated and disposed.
With the increasing pressure of population growth coupled with the investments being made into economic infrastructure in peri-urban and rural areas located on Swazi Nation Land, there is an urgent need to identify appropriate means to improve waste management in these areas. This is relevant for household waste, waste from commercial nodes, as well as health care risk waste from health care facilities. This is perhaps less a technical exercise, since a range of technological approaches are already in existence world-wide; but perhaps more an institutional exercise by looking into and agreeing on suitable institutional and also financial arrangements. In 2001 a comprehensive Status Quo analysis of the current waste situation in Swaziland was compiled.
The Waste Regulations 2000 falls under Section 18 of the Swaziland Environment Authority Act, No. 15 of 1992.
This replaces The Waste Regulations, 1999.
Bamako Convention on the Ban of Import of Hazardous Wastes into Africa
The Bamako Convention on the ban of the Import into Africa and the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes within Africa was adopted in Bamako, Mali, on 30 January 1991. The Bamako Convention came into force on 10 March 1999.
The objectives of the Bamako Convention are to protect human health and the environment from dangers posed by hazardous wastes by reducing their generation to a minimum in terms of quantity and/or hazard potential.
Only States which are members of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) can become a party to the Bamako Convention.
All Parties are obliged to prohibit the import of all hazardous wastes, for any reason, into Africa from non-Contracting Parties (article 4.1). The categories of wastes listed in Annex I to the Bamako Convention, a waste possessing any of the characteristics listed in Annex II to the Bamako Convention, as well as any waste considered to be hazardous by the domestic laws of either the state of import, export, or transit are considered hazardous wastes for the purposes of the Bamako Convention.
Under the Bamako Convention the dumping of hazardous wastes is prohibited as follows (article 4.2):
Parties in conformity with related international conventions and instruments shall, in the exercise of their jurisdiction within their internal waters, territorial seas, exclusive economic zones and continental shelf, adopt legal, administrative and other appropriate measures to control all carriers from non-Parties, and prohibit the dumping at sea of hazardous wastes, including their incineration at sea and their disposal in the seabed and the sub-seabed; any dumping of hazardous wastes at sea, including incineration at sea as well as seabed and sub-seabed disposal, by Contracting Parties, whether in internal waters, territorial seas, exclusive economic zones or high seas shall be deemed to be illegal.
It follows from this provision in combination with Annex I to the Bamako Convention that the dumping of radioactive wastes, industrial wastes, sewage and sewage sludge is prohibited. The Bamako Convention places the duty on the Parties to monitor their respective waterways to ensure that no dumping occurs. Each State Party must report annually to the Secretariat all the hazardous wastes generated each year.
Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, 1989
An introduction to the convention is provided on the Basel Convention website:
Origins of the Convention
In the late 1980s, a tightening of environmental regulations in industrialized countries led to a dramatic rise in the cost of hazardous waste disposal. Searching for cheaper ways to get rid of the wastes, “toxic traders” began shipping hazardous waste to developing countries and to Eastern Europe. When this activity was revealed, international outrage led to the drafting and adoption of the Basel Convention.
During its first Decade (1989-1999), the Convention was principally devoted to setting up a framework for controlling the “transboundary” movements of hazardous wastes, that is, the movement of hazardous wastes across international frontiers. It also developed the criteria for “environmentally sound management”. A Control System, based on prior written notification, was also put into place.
About the Present Decade
During The Present Decade (2000-2010), the Convention will build on this framework by emphasizing full implementation and enforcement of treaty commitments. The other area of focus will be the minimization of hazardous waste generation. Recognizing that the long-term solution to the stockpiling of hazardous wastes is a reduction in the generation of those wastes – both in terms of quantity and hazardousness – Ministers meeting in December of 1999 set out guidelines for the Convention’s activities during the Next Decade, including:
active promotion and use of cleaner technologies and production methods;
further reduction of the movement of hazardous and other wastes;
the prevention and monitoring of illegal traffic;
improvement of institutional and technical capabilities -through technology when appropriate – especially for developing countries and countries with economies in transition;
further development of regional and subregional centres for training and technology transfer.
To address the issues of the growing waste management problem, a National Solid Waste Management Strategy (NSWMS)was compiled by the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Communication in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, including government at all levels, business and industry, as well as non-governmental organisations.
The national Solid Waste Management Strategy for Swaziland represents a long term plan (up to 2012) for addressing key issues, needs and problems experienced with waste management in Swaziland. The strategy attempts to give effect to the National Environmental Policy, National Environmental Management Act and the Waste Regulations 2000. The focus of the strategy is to move towards a holistic approach in waste management, in line with internationally accepted principles but taking into account the specific context of Swaziland regarding the institutional and legal framework as well as geographical and resource constraints. Integrated waste management thus represents a move away from waste management through impact management and remediation to a proactive management system which focus on waste prevention and minimisation.
This National Solid Waste Management Strategy (NSWMS) for Swaziland sets out the following vision for the Kingdom:
“to develop, implement and maintain an integrated waste management system that will reduce the adverse impact of all forms of solid waste, so that social and economic development in Swaziland, the health of it”s people and the quality of it”s environment and it”s resources benefit.”
The development of the NSWMS was preceded by various other processes eg. the National Development Strategy (NDS-September 1997), the Swaziland Environmental Action Plan (SEAP- August 1997), a Draft Environmental Bill (which has been passed into law in December 2002) and the Swaziland Waste Regulations 2000 made pursuant to the Swaziland Environment Act 15/1992. The need for a NSWMS for Swaziland was already identified in the SEAP as a priority area. Based on this identified need a project was launched by the SEA in close cooperation with the Danish Co-operation for Environment and Development (DANCED) who provided the funding for the project. The project was established to assist the SEA with the development and implementation of a NSWMS.
The rationale and justification behind proposing a National Solid Waste Management Strategy for Swaziland were many. The Kingdom of Swaziland needed an integrated waste management strategy to address the identified needs and problems and that puts emphasis on both urban and rural areas. A clean environment means reduced public health problems as well as reduced ground and water pollution.
Critical aspects that were taken into account during the strategy formulation process were the existing institutional and legal framework regarding waste management. The National Environmental Policy, National Environmental Bill as well as the Waste Regulations 2000 has been used as a legal framework. A concerted effort was also made to allocate waste responsibilities in the strategy within the existing responsibility framework of government. Key to the success of the implementation of the waste management strategy would be whether government and other stakeholders could actually provide the necessary resources and cooperation needed for implementation.
Pilot Projects – National Solid Waste Management Strategy
In connection with the Strategy, four Pilot Projects were undertaken. The Pilot Projects were designed partly to show practical and visible demonstrations on the ground partly to test the proposed strategy against reality in Swaziland in order to fine tune and finalise the strategy.
National Solid Waste Management Strategy (NSWMS) Toolbox
The NSWMS project has developed a number of supporting documents in relation to the community pilot projects. This includes formulars, guidelines, forms, standards, lessons learnt etc. This tool-box can be used by communities who wish to establish waste management systems.