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Residents of Hann Bay pursue ‘zero waste’ in Senegal4 minutes read

The pollution problem is receiving more attention, with President Macky Sall broaching the issue in his April 2 re-inauguration speech

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A woman holding a fish walks on tyre and plastic waste on June 1, 2019 in Dakar's highly populated Hann Bay

Once an idyllic stretch of white beach enticing fishermen and tourists alike, decades of factory and household waste have turned Senegal’s Hann Bay into a dump. The shore, which separates an industrial zone in the capital Dakar from the Atlantic Ocean, is now a shocking sight.

It is littered with plastic dirt as far as the eye can see. Lacking sufficient waste removal services, residents either have to roll up their sleeves as volunteers trash collectors or pay private firms to clean up.

A volunteer cleans up a beach littered with tyre, plastic waste and dead fishes on June 1, 2019 in Dakar's highly populated Hann Bay
A volunteer cleans up a beach littered with tyre, plastic waste and dead fishes on June 1, 2019 in Dakar’s highly populated Hann Bay. – Senegal’s President Macky Sall launched a “Zero Waste” initiative to step up against the dumping of waste in public spaces. (Photo by Seyllou / AFP)

The pollution problem is receiving more attention, with President Macky Sall broaching the issue in his April 2 re-inauguration speech which mooted a “zero waste” future for Senegal.

On paper, trash collection in greater Dakar is a government service. But more than 10 percent of households do not have rubbish pickup, according to Lamine Kebe, a coordinator for the public waste-gathering service UCG.

In some areas this percentage is far higher, particularly in far-flung suburbs. There, rubbish trucks battle to make their way through litter-strewn streets.

On a recent Saturday morning, a few dozen young people sporting gloves, spades and rubbish bags were hard at work in Hann Bay, heeding a cleanup call from Senegal Entraide, a grouping of public service volunteers.

Cash for trash in Hann Bay

A Development Agency, which backs measures to clean the bay, notes that “60 percent of Senegal’s manufacturing industry lies along Hann Bay and empties its polluted effluents directly into the bay”. Residents, too, play their part, dumping everything from plastic bags and clothes to kitchen scraps, animal carcasses and toilet waste.

“Citizens should not ask what their district can do for them, but what they can do for their district,” said Senegal Entraide president Mahmoud Sy. The cleanup task is too big for volunteers alone, and many people have started small, informal businesses, earning cash to take away the trash.

Volunteers clean up a beach in Dakar's highly populated Hann Bay
Volunteers clean up a beach in Dakar’s highly populated Hann Bay on September 15, 2018. – Senegal’s National Office of Sanitation (ONAS) organized the initiative on the occasion of the World Cleanup Day. (Photo by SEYLLOU / AFP)

One such entrepreneur, Ma Niang Dieng, daily sends carts hauled by donkeys or horses around the alleyways of Rufisque, a labyrinthine Dakar suburb home to a major industrial zone. Many of the roads are impossible for cars or trucks to navigate.

“These are the zones where we work,” Dieng explained. In the paved parts, public lorries fetch the waste, “but it is in the nooks and crannies that we intervene most of the time”. Dieng observed the comings and goings of his employees, responsible for bringing garbage to a local depot from where a UCG truck would take it to the city’s rubbish tip.

Residents pay a monthly fee of 1,500 CFA francs for Dieng’s services, “which isn’t expensive,” in the view of a Rufisque school headmaster, Moustapha M’Baye. Dieng said he pays each of his cart drivers about 55,000 CFA francs per month.

Such private initiative is welcomed by the UCG, Kebe said. Every day, UCG lorries collect some 2,400 tonnes of waste in the greater Dakar region, which has a population of more than three million. “We don’t have the human and material resources to deploy to every district,” Kebe said. “So when an association accompanies the process, we can only congratulate them.”

But meeting Sall’s ambitious long-term goal of “zero waste” is more than a matter of resources, Kebe added. Success will also require a mindset change from industry and from residents themselves. “We sweep up, we collect, but two minutes later, it’s like nothing has been done,” said Kebe.

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Heavy rains threaten Uganda’s coffee crop quality

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Uganda’s coffee crop quality could see a decline in the coming months as heavy rains across the country have reduced the amount of sunshine necessary for bean drying.

Uganda is Africa’s largest exporter of coffee followed by Ethiopia and grows mostly robusta variety.

The country has been pounded by unusually heavy rains that started in August resulting in deaths, displacement and extensive damage to roads and other infrastructure.

Western Uganda, including the foothills of the Rwenzori mountains , some of the biggest coffee growing areas, has received some of the most intense rains.

Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), the state-run regulator, forecasts Uganda’s bean exports will climb 16 percent to 5.1 million 60-kg (132-pound) bags in the current crop year ending September.

The country’s coffee output has surged in recent years, the fruition of a government programme that has been distributing free seedlings to farmers to expand acreage and replace aging trees.

Authorities say their target is to help boost annual production to 20 million bags by 2025.

The beans have traditionally been Uganda’s biggest commodity export but were recently overtaken by gold which now annually earns the country over $1 billion.

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Business rescue team rule out mid-June return for SAA flights

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South African Airways business rescue practitioners have rejected an “unvetted” statement released by the state-owned airline indicating plans to resume domestic flights from mid-June.

The national carrier had on Tuesday, announced that its planes will be back in the skies between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

But Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, the business rescue administrators, say the airline had breached communications protocol by issuing a statement which “created an unfair expectation on our relevant stakeholders, including SAA’s customers, as well as employees who are on unpaid absence as a result of the travel ban which led to the halting of the company’s operations, compounding its financial distress.”

SAA’s media statement had gone out without the approval of the practitioners as demanded by the business rescue procedure.

With the government of South Africa announcing that the country will enter into lockdown alert level 3 from June 1, domestic air travel will be permitted but only for business purposes.

The business rescue practitioners said SAA planes will remain grounded until a better understanding of what the level 3 regulations entail.

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Tanzania, France sign water supply loan agreement

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Tanzania has signed a loan agreement with France to finance water supply projects that will benefit about 770,000 people in the country’s Morogoro municipality.

The French government will extend the loan worth about $76 million to Tanzania through its French Development Agency (AFD), according to Dotto James, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning who signed the agreement on behalf of Tanzania.

“Upon completion, the water supply in the Morogoro municipality will increase from the current 37,000 cubic meters a day to 108,000 cubic meters a day,” James told a press conference following a signing ceremony in Morogoro.

AFD Country Representative for Tanzania, Stephanie Mouen says the project will improve the well-being of the people in the municipality and it will also improve the environment.

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