Waste management is a problem in Many Developing Countries including Malawi, Then what could the role of Civil Society Organisations?


Author Names: Amon Lukhele, Ms. Isabel Chirwa, Simon Gumbo.

Title of paper: Waste Management and Renewable Energies Production

Thematic Area: Innovation, Designs and Technologies in WASH

Type of presentation: Oral presentation.

Mailing Address: Outreach Scout Foundation (OSF), Box 791, Lilongwe. Malawi.

Telephone: +265 111747641, +265 884 309 820

Email Address: outreachosf2007@gmail.com


  2. Water Sanitation and Hygiene

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, Article 25 states that "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family".

Most households do not demonstrate safe hygiene practices with 75% of households indicating having soap in their houses but only 45% claimed to use soap for hand washing at critical times and that 35% washed hands after using the latrine and less than 10% before feeding or cooking[1]. Safe hygiene practices remains low leading to high prevalence of water and sanitation related diseases contributing to poor health, loss of productivity and exacerbation of poverty. Child Mortality Rate (CMR) is very high in Malawi estimated at 122/1000[2], which is attributed to mainly diarrhoeal diseases.

It is also estimated that 35% of the primary schools do not have improved sanitary facilities and that the average ratio of pupil to latrine remains quite high at 144 pupils to one unit compared to the recommended 60 pupils per one unit.

It also estimated that 77% of all schools in Malawi do not have accepted sanitation facilities and that only 33% have basic sanitation facilities on site[3].

Lilongwe, a city of 2.2 million growing by 4.4%/year[4], has developed a sewage, solid waste and sanitation problem. Garbage is disposed of in city streets, open land-fills and unauthorized areas and raw sewage in returned to local fresh water sources untreated, thus posing a potentially catastrophic health risk.

  1. Aim:
  1. To provide City and town Councils a comprehensive waste management, water purification and sustainable energy production system that can be operated by Malawian technicians, business people and academic institutions.
  2. To establish the technological and educational infrastructure by 2015 that can be expanded for Malawi to become energy independent by the year 2020.

  1. Results:

Anaerobic digestion of the sewage will convert the water borne garbage to biomass fertilizer, semi-purified water and methane gas, which is a sustainable fuel by-product.

  1. Conclusion

We intend to create an integrated, City and Town Councils-wide system that:

  1. Consumes organic wastes (waterborne and others) and produces biogas (methane) and water as a byproduct.
  2. Separation of non degradable substances for recycling (plastics, rubber, glass, metals etc).

Further more the government of Malawi will reduce its budget allocated for curing water borne diseases such as cholera. The biogas produced from the process will benefit the population at the household level; agriculture sector will benefit fertilizer recycled from garbage. Private companies will benefit from recycled plastics.

[1]Government of Malawi, UNICEF and Population Services International (PSI) in 2006 report

[2]MICS 2006

[3]Malawi school WASH

[4]National Statics Report 2008