… As Windhoek drops to 10th cleanest city in Africa
Windhoek – The annual operational and capital budget for the City of Windhoek’s Solid Waste Management Division, which is responsible for cleaning the city and repairing damaged or vandalised infrastructure, is about N$149 million. When this amount is divided over 365 days it works out to over N$408 000 that the city spends per day to keep the streets clean and repair infrastructure that is mostly damaged over weekends and particularly at month-end.
However, over N$400 000 a day has not done much for the capital city to retain its ranking as the cleanest city in Africa that it held at the dawn of the new millennium, as the latest rankings show that Windhoek has now dropped to tenth position (africaranking.com), with Cape Town now considered the cleanest city on the continent.
However, City of Windhoek (CoW) spokesperson Joshua Amukugo says the city is actively involved in changing the mindset of Windhoek residents, with clean-up efforts such as the Mayoral Clean Up Campaign and the Catch Them Young Campaign that hopes to instil a sense of pride to resist littering and damaging public property.
Amukugo admits that keeping the city clean is a mammoth task as more and more people flock to the city in search of jobs and an overall better life. Part of the problem, he says, its that the city’s infrastructure was never intended to deal with the number of people that now reside in the capital and therefore emphasis needs to be placed on availing the necessary services to deal with the massive urban influx.
“The section of Customer Education and Marketing at Solid Waste Management Division is mainly responsible for educating and marketing solid waste management related activities. We have school and community programs where our staff educate schools and communities on waste management systems and their importance. We also have various marketing activities which run on radio, television, billboards, newspapers and mobile trailers,” said Amukugo. He also noted that the Solid Waste Management Division, with the assistance of the City Police, will soon be in a position to fine litterbugs, regardless of whether they are motorists or pedestrians.
Currently the CoW has over 300 permanent positions available for cleaning duties but only about 180 of these have been filled. CoW also employs 19 ward contractors that have an additional 400 employees. In terms of vehicles the Solid Waste Management Division has a fleet of 118 vehicles, with a replacement value of approximately N$100 million at its disposal. The division has one office facility in the Northern Industrial Area, eight landfill sites and transfer stations and also has one waste treatment plant under construction.
“There are sufficient garbage bins such as skips, wheelie bins, street refuse bins, pole refuse bins, and annually areas in need of bins are identified and supplied with bins. All households connected with the City are issued with a wheelie bin and they can increase the number upon request,” Amukugo noted.
CoW has distributed about 48 000 green 240-litre wheelie bins, 450 orange skips, 15 green bottle recycling skips and over 800 pole refuse and street bins.
“But these trash cans do not seem to be sufficient for a city whose population is estimated to be in the region of 500 000 people as is evident from the quickly deteriorating ranking on the list of cleanest cities in Africa. Even if the city had enough trash cans for all the residents in all the neighbourhoods it would’t really do any good if people don’t use them.”