For the majority of Bulawayo residents, Richmond landfill site commonly known as Ngozi mine, is a dirty, smelly and dusty place reserved for garbage but beyond that, a thriving and booming waste recycling business beckons.
Heeding the call of being innovative and self reliant, a number of people are now turning trash into cash at the landfill site, where empty beer bottles, used plastic bags and cardboard boxes are processed into useful products.
The ZBC News crew visited Ngozi mine and discovered a thriving chain of waste management system which includes garbage collectors, transporters, buyers and recyclers from as far as Harare.
“From cans and other metals, I am able to make three-legged pots and other things,” said one Bulawayo resident
Sustainable waste management systems have proved to be a challenge in most urban cities, rural district councils and towns with Bulawayo City Council Senior Environmental Health Officer, Mr Nkanyiso Ndlovu highlighting that waste recyclers have played an important role in prolonging the life span of landfills.
“We are remaining with seven to 10 years if we continue at the current rate of waste generation. As a city, we have tried to regularise these recyclers’ activities when they salvage materials out of the landfill,” he said.
Increased population and unsustainable consumption patterns have contributed to the growing solid waste problem, taking away the beauty of cities and town.