Rapid population growth and urbanisation puts pressure on urban services and waste management. Notably, with any population, waste generation surges as fast as human consumption. The 2004 Environmental Management Act in Tanzania was ineffective in combating environmental challenges triggered by rapid urbanisation and failed to put into place solid waste management practices that promoted sanitary landfilling and waste recovery. Land, air and water pollution are a major problem in urbanised areas. This was caused by improper treatment and disposal of solid and liquid waste, which proved highly detrimental to the existing ecosystems and human health.
Tanzania was also faced with poor segregation of market actors, which made it almost impossible to coordinate and implement a proper solid waste management system. Many private sector players lacked access to adequate recycling knowledge and waste processing technology. This limited their income-generating options, as they often worked in an unsupported and non-systematic manner, collecting and recycling only mainstream plastic types, like polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Other recyclables such as fibre plastics, glass, paper and organic waste remained unexploited at the collection points or at the dump sites, indicating untapped potential. Additionally, not many investors were willing to enter the market as the supply of materials was inconsistent.
Community-Based Organisations (CBOs), the key waste collectors often responsible for managing waste collection in their mandated neighbourhoods, mainly gathered waste as a part-time occupation; simply put, they didn’t know or understand the economic potential of the waste they collected.
The municipalities were simply not efficient in their waste handling efforts and did not provide reliable collection services to residents. This was due to both weak policies and the high operational costs incurred as a result of the limited waste recovery activities. Since waste was not being sorted at household level and collection was not regular or streamlined, there were several waste piles across town, which posed as a health risks and resulted in many residents falling ill from malaria and cholera.
Taka ni Mali was implemented by Swisscontact in Morogoro and Mwanza Municipalities, Tanzania and was funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Puma Energy Foundation and the Republic and Canton of Geneva.
The Taka ni Mali concept was born during a Swisscontact environmental mission carried out in Tanzania in June 2012. The mission demonstrated that there was great potential to replicate the successes of Swisscontact’s ecological projects dedicated to tackling solid waste management in Latin America and Asia.
The project was first implemented in Morogoro Municipality, a major township located approximately 195km to the west of Dar es Salaam and with around 250,902 inhabitants. It received funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Puma Energy Foundation for implementation between 2013 and 2016.
The primary focus of the project was to progress economic opportunities in waste collection and the recycling sector by:
The secondary focus of the project was to improve urban hygiene and the environmental situation of the residents by:
Thanks to the impact made in the first project phase, an extension of a two-year phase was implemented in both Mwanza and Morogoro, from 2017 to 2018.
The environmental pollution and degradation have thus been reduced by 88 763.8 tons of CO2 emissions. Carbon Dioxide (C02) emissions were reduced by the collection of 46 718 tons of organic waste.
Since the project applied an inclusive approach engaging all stakeholders and managing expectations, the community slowly embraced proper solid waste management systems and applied them independently. The numerous capacity-building exercises built cohesion among the stakeholders, who recognised the importance of strengthening their symbiotic relationships in order to maximise and manage solid waste in a proper and profitable way. Because stakeholders identified the gaps in the waste management system and were adequately trained with the skills they needed, Swisscontact believes that the project will be tenable in the future. Towards the closure of the project, three dummy cheques each valued at CHF8,690 have been handed over to the Mwanza City Council (Ilemela and Nyamagana Municipalities) and Morogoro Municipality, symbolising the support for equipment to strategically sustain proper solid waste management systems after Swisscontact’s engagement.
The Taka ni Mali project contributed to adequate employment opportunities in solid waste collection and recycling, while reducing environmental degradation and health risks through efficient and sustainable solid waste management systems.