A digital solution to strengthen the solid waste management market promoted during National waste conference in Angola
Waste management is a significant problem globally due to its impact on human health and the environment. However, in developing countries the situation becomes more acute due to the cultural and economic need for proper urbanization in the peripheral belt of the cities. Thus, waste management is a social, economic, and environmental problem facing all African countries. EU Africa RISE supports several initiatives to manage waste sustainably. One of them is a digital app solution that will be piloted in Angola with National Waste Agency (NWA). Our expert, Thierry Sanders, presented the app as a possible solution to responding to the challenge of waste collection in the country during the National Waste Conference that took place in Luanda, on the 30th and 31st of January 2023.
In Angola, the challenge is particularly severe due to the need for imperative laws, norms, and applicable legislation on what people do with waste. For instance, Angola produces, on an annual basis, around 6.4 million tons of solid waste, which either ends up in a landfill or is indiscriminately disposed of. Therefore, if the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development is to be achieved, sustainable waste management approaches must be an environmental and public health imperative for urgent attention.
The problem of waste management is severe when it comes to megacities such as Luanda, Angola's capital, whose population has grown tremendously in recent decades. One of the main reasons was due to the civil war that spread over the country Luanda became the city of safety for thousands Angolans from various parts of the country, who were fleeing from civil war and, settling primarily in the suburban belt of the capital. It is estimated that Luanda has a population between 5 -8 million inhabitants, representing about 24% of the country's population. Most of the waste is deposited in open dumps, near watercourses, and in residential areas, aggravating environmental problems as well as public health. There is also no formal market for waste in Angola. Currently, all is happening in the informal market, which is less visible, and hence no possibility to track waste generation from source to final destination.
Africa RISE has been working to respond to these challenges with multiple initiatives, including forming a circular economy program for solid waste management in collaboration with the Delegation of the European Union in Luanda. The program (which ended in mid-2022) analysed the current state of play of the circular economy in Angola and identified areas for improvement. One recommendation from this review was for the Urban Waste Management Strategic Plan (PESGRU) to be reviewed and areas of improvement recommended to inform the next steps. This plan, which is already underway, will present measurements of “urgency” on urban waste management, involve stakeholders in concrete actions, and analyse possible forms of financing.
Another initiative that Africa RISE is leading is the development of a digital application to support the management of the supply and demand of waste, as well as to strengthen the solid waste management market. This would break down the barriers between waste pickers and industries that need waste. This project is about to start implementation. The study will help stakeholders find a digital solution to respond to these issues: an app with minimum features, operational in an improved enabling environment, that will monitor SW across the waste value chain, from production to disposal and recycling, will have a traceability system, a payment system, a certification system to support with EPR, etc. Once in place, the app will promote a sustainable and greener digital solution for all waste management system players to trade freely, with market forces dictating the supply and demand within a solid waste management [SWM] system, a safe space for effective implementation of the EPR.
Africa RISE participated in the the National Waste Conference, held by the National Waste Agency on the 30th and 31st of January 2023, to raise awareness and develop strategies for an integrated resolution of the waste problem. The conference involved the active participation of provincial governments, municipal administrations, public and private bodies, and the general population.
Thierry Sanders, a consultant from Africa RISE, had a presentation on “Responding to the challenge of waste collection in Angola” during the conference. He explained how waste pickers, who are picking up most of the recyclable materials in the world, need to be paid more to collect recyclable materials. He also elaborated on the digital app, explaining that the application will provide the National Waste Agency with real data, which will contribute to the development of new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation, which funds waste collection by charging consumer goods companies who are producing packaging waste. This will consequently reduce the environmental impact of products throughout their life cycle, finding ways to manage waste through circularity better.