The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has stepped-up promotion of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Regulations Statutory Instrument No. 65 of 2018 by launching a media awareness campaign to highlight existing waste minimisation and recycling practices.

ZEMA has underscored the role of manufacturers in taking responsibility for packaging waste by partnering with the Zambian Breweries to highlight economic opportunities associated with sustainable waste management practices.

ZEMA Director-General John Msimuko thanked Zambian Breweries for accepting to join the initiative which seeks to highlight best practices and key principles of the EPR Regulations.

Mr Msimuko said: “As an Agency, our role is to enforce regulations and standards on all aspects of environmental protection as well as advise and give guidance on government policy on overall environmental protection. We urge the media to highlight other aspects and products that the EPR covers and not just plastic carrier bags as the case has been since the Regulations were enacted.”

“The Manja Pamodzi initiative is not only helping to keep the environment free of waste, but is also supporting and creating employment, business opportunities, and promoting a clean and healthy environment,” further said Mr Msimuko.

Sustainable waste management has become even more important in the light of COVID-19 which is significantly contributing to increased waste generation at household level. The outbreak of the virus globally and locally has seen stringent health measures being taken to curb its spread.

For this reason, ZEMA’s partnership with Zambia’s largest brewer is an initiative to launch a campaign aimed at reducing post-consumer packaging waste.

“As Zambian Breweries, the Manja Pamodzi project is helping to clean up this waste and improve sanitation and hygiene; the project has been transforming lives and protecting the environment since inception in 2016,” said Zambian Breweries Corporate Affairs Manager Ezekiel Sekele.

The recycling initiative, which is implemented by Zambian Breweries with support from Lusaka City Council (LCC), has recruited more than 800 collectors with over 12,000 tonnes of recyclable waste material collected from various communities in Lusaka.

It creates employment for entrepreneurs, who are paid for the waste they collect.

“Manja Pamodzi collects the recyclable waste from the collectors in the communities through its aggregator sites around Lusaka. The recyclable materials are sold to processing companies, which add value by turning the waste into pellets or granulates for sale or make finished products such as plastic cups, chairs and egg trays for sale.

Thus, through the campaign and in the new normal, we also aim to encourage Zambian citizens to venture into the recycling business, educate consumers on the sustainable waste practices, as well as raise awareness on EPR as it relates to the promotion of sustainable waste management and environmental improvement,” he said.

Mr Sekele further said there were numerous opportunities in waste management and recycling and that manufacturers, distributors, importers, traders and retailers have a key role to play in promoting waste management.

ZEMA takes this opportunity to encourage other industry stakeholders to join the EPR awareness campaign to stir recycling and promote a circular economy for job creation and sustainable environmental management.

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