Workshop report on effective municipal solid waste management in City of Kigali

30-31 May 2022, Kigali,  Rwanda the Global Green Growth Institute conducted a two days’ workshop at M Hotel on effective municipal solid waste management services in the City of Kigali from 30 to 31 May 2022. The workshop was attended private companies with business spanning across value chain of municipal waste management in the City of Kigali including by waste collection and transportation services providers, recyclers, and dumpsite operators. Opening remarks were done by both Ministry of Environment and Global Green Growth Institute. In his opening remarks, Dismas Karuranga from Ministry of Environment, emphasized private sector deeds will surely contribute to the achievement of short and long-term national development agenda for waste management. He also thanked everyone who managed to attend the workshop and wished them fruitful discussions.

On behalf of Global Green Growth Institute Country Rep, Mr Juvenal Mukurarinda  appreciated the opportunity to be part of the opening of this workshop on “effective municipal solid waste management services in the City of Kigali”. He said that the workshop is critical at a time where urbanization, economic and population growth especially in the City of Kigali has been highly increasing from the last two decades. As a consequences, this is associated with high generation of municipal waste which require effective actions to revert challenges associated with enormous quantities of municipal solid waste to protect both environment and public health across value chain. He said that the purpose of the workshop was to enhance capacities of service providers for collection and transportation, recyclers, and dumpsite operators on the best practices for effective municipal waste management in the City of Kigali. It is also aimed at raising awareness on the existing policies and regulations governing municipal solid waste management in the Country. Statistics from various studies conducted for the City of Kigali indicated that 80% of population has access to waste collection services of which 50 to 60 % is collected and transported to Nduba dumpsite for disposal. Recycling is still minimum between 2-5% of all generated waste. The dumpsite is semi-controlled, there is no access control, there is no control of waste movement in and out of the site. In 2021 it was estimated that dumpsite accumulated around 850,000 MT since its opening 2012.

The waste sector still has challenges including limited capacities for service providers and recyclers, limited professionals in waste sector, limited operational budget to manage disposal sites, and financial constraints for putting up infrastructure for waste treatment. Rwanda has an ambitious target of reaching 100% universal access to improved waste management services by 2024. Therefore, private sector must play a key central role to achieve that target. GGGI is implementing a waste to resource project that will contribute to the protect environment and public health while maximizing waste valorization and service provision.

In his conclusion, he invited all participants to have interesting discussions and draw conclusions as well as recommendations of accelerating the advancement of sustainable waste management services in the City of Kigali.

1.    Enabling environment for solid waste management

The presented enabling environment include the national policies, regulations and standards linked to municipal solid waste management. The presented enablers are National sanitation policy and integrated solid waste management strategy, National Policy on Environment and Climate Change, regulations for collection and transportation of wastes and standards for organic waste fertilizers.

1.1   National sanitation Policy and Integrated solid waste management strategy

The representative from the Ministry of Infrastructure, Hategekimana Emmanuel, highlighted that Sanitation sub-sector was initially overlooked by the water supply sub-sector until 2016 when the Government decided to unbundle sanitation from water supply. Sanitation, in Rwandan Context, covers all aspects of wastes including solid waste management.

Emmanuel mentioned that Sanitation policy is umbrella policy that gives policy directions for solid, liquid, human excreta, and special waste. For Municipal Waste, the policy provides that it should be managed following the principles of the waste hierarchy by promoting waste prevention, reuse, recycle and recover. The same policy recommended formulation of standalone strategies for the above-mentioned types of waste.

Hence, a national integrated solid waste management strategy was developed. It provides clear institutional roles and responsibilities for stakeholders across waste value chain. The strategy was validated by the sector working group January 2022.  It provides key strategic pillars and founding elements to ensure sustainable waste management countrywide across value chain. It also indicates areas of interventions and required investment for implementation.

1.2   National Environment and Climate change Policy

KARURANGA Dismas, the focal point of Waste to Resource Project in the Ministry of Environment. He mentioned that waste sector has evolved over time for the past decade and the first Environmental policy was introduced in 2003 followed organic law in 2005 for the protection and conservation of the environment. The policy highlighted that every citizen must live in the healthy and safe environment.

Under that policy, most of the activities were implemented such as sustainable mining activities, protecting water bodies; lakes rivers and wetlands, prohibiting the use of plastic bags.

The current national environment and climate change policy was developed in 2019 to cover gaps of previous policy to align it with the Government long-term aspirations on environment protection. The policy has seven objectives including green economic transformation, enhancing functional natural ecosystems, and managing biosafety, strengthen meteorological and early warning services, promote climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, improve environment wellbeing of Rwandans, strengthening environmental and climate change governance and promote green foreign and domestic direct investment and other capital inflows.

The achievement made so far after the adoption of the policy are restoration of critical ecosystems, green cities, erosion control, emission monitoring for vehicles, promotion of sustainability in rural settlement and protection of riverbanks.

2.3 Waste collection and transportation regulation

Elisabeth M. Constance NAHIMANA from RURA highlighted that service provision are regulated through: Development of regulations and guidelines, Licensing the service providers (operators), Monitoring of quality of service & compliance by operators, Setting the tariff where applicable (e.g. household solid waste collection service fee) and Handling consumers’ complaints and facilitating dispute resolution between service providers and consumers.

RURA regulates the following services: Solid waste collection and transportation, Solid waste recycling, hazardous waste management and e waste management. She mentioned the challenges faced in waste collection including Low level of waste sorting, limited professional capacity of some service provider, inadequate disposal sites, Recycling/resources recovery activities still at low stage, and non-compliance with regulations.

As way forward, RURA is planning to enforce regulations through monitoring of the quality of service, work with other stakeholders for education and awareness campaigns on waste sorting, develop further regulations, advocate for resource recovery and collaborate with other stakeholders for the development of the sector. The regulations provide administration sanctions for examples a service provider for collection and transportation of waste if caught with unsorted waste in the truck, the company is fines FRW 200, 000, failure to comply with tariffs you are sanctioned FRW 500,000.

2.4 Standards for organic waste fertilizers

 The representative of Rwanda Standard Board (RSB), Uwimana Clement, indicated that standards for organic fertilizer was developed in 2021. The standards define organic fertilizers as the fertilizers that are naturally produced and contain carbon. The coding of the standard is RS 279:2021.

The standard provides different type of organic fertilizers as farmyard manure, green manure, compost prepared from crop residues and other farm wastes, vermicompost, oil cakes, biological wastes (animal bones, slaughterhouse refuse and natural mineral deposits that include but not limited to phosphate rock, greensand, Epsom salt, calcium, and limestone flour. The standard provides the physico-chemical parameters with minimum and maximum ranges that must be complied. It also mentions minimum nutrient percentage guarantee and test methods. The standard is sold at 1500 FRW/page. Recyclers for organic waste should ensure that their products (organic fertilizers comply with standards otherwise, the products won’t be acceptable.

2.5 Environmental perspective vis a vis waste management

Jacques NSENGIYUMVA, the Ag. Air Quality Specialist from Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) highlighted potential sources of Solid wastes which are medical centers, feeding centers, slaughterhouses, warehouses& markets, agency promises, domestic/municipal areas, industries, mining, and construction but households are the highest potential source of solid wastes.  Poor management of waste contribute to the environmental pollution and degradation, and disease transmission. REMA intervenes in drafting laws protecting the environment and law enforcement and conducting regular inspections related to environmental pollution.

Towards the end of the day, participants had chance to discuss in groups required actions for effective sorting at source. The outcomes of the group discussion to all teams indicated that service providers should establish smart bins at entities level to facilitate waste sorting at source, and government institutions must provide grants for investors that significantly contribute to circular economy (machinery, technology, and trucks). A member of the group hinted that “sorting shouldn’t be a choice but rather an obligation that every waste generator must practice in order to maximize waste valorization”.

Day two: Best Practices for municipal waste management

This day was more on the presentations for best practices for municipal solid waste. The speaks were University of Rwanda, Green Care and Enviroserve

2.6 Best practices in sustainable waste management as per University of Rwanda

 Elisée Gashugi, Lecturer at College of Science and Technology, Chemistry Department who also do time to time consultancies, explained that Kigali waste management has evolved over the last 10 years. Prior to 2010, there was no national policy or harmonized regulatory framework addressing solid waste management (SWM). By gradual changes, urbanization, the emergence of new institutions over time and environmental emergencies, waste collection started. At present, SWM is managed linearly in general. Overall waste generated is collected and disposed to landfill; with slight formal recycling of in-organic waste, and with slight waste reprocessing of organic waste. He mentioned Rwanda ambitious targets on waste management by 2024; 40% of solid waste collected and recycled countrywide, 80% of domestic waste recycled, reused, or disposed of properly in urban areas and 50% of the generated e-waste recycled and turned into usable materials. He hinted that to reach the national target, people need to work together, and innovations should be encouraged at all levels. He also touched on the ongoing  initiatives related to waste treatment by private initiative for example COPED, Agroplast, Ecoplastic and recommended the private sector to invest more in waste treatment.

 2.7 Integrated Solid Waste Management by producing organic compost “Grekompost”

Greencare Rwanda Ltd is a company led by Noel NIZEYIMANA. The company operate a waste processing site in Huye and was invited to share the best practices for waste management especially for organic waste valorization. The company was registered in 2016 and got license from RURA to operate in 2017. The company receives waste collected by different companies of which 70% of total waste quantities is organic waste. It started treating 1 ton/day with 5 staff and now have grown to 10 tons/day with 25 permanent staff. Green care has a vision of becoming one of the top companies in waste management services and market leader in the fertilizers industry.

Noel highlighted that the biggest bottleneck of municipal solid waste management recyclers is the reception of unsorted waste which incur additional operational cost for sorting to enable valorization activities. The company can recycle plastic and other plastics bags into ecological pavers and organic waste into the fine organic fertilizers for agriculture purposes. Due to unavailable technologies for recycling, pile of recyclables are stored into the waste processing facility ready be as well transformed once technologies are available.

2.8 E-waste presentation as per Enviroserve

Enviroserve Rwanda Green Park as commonly termed Enviroserve has been operating in Rwanda since 2017 and in partnership with Government of Rwanda, Enviroserve is managing a state-of art and environmentally friendly e-waste dismantling and recycling facility located in Bugesera, first of its kind in East Africa Region. E-waste is a complex waste stream with more small products which however must be clearly handled to avoid contact with human beings. The representative of Enviroserve highlighted that inventory conducted by MINICOM in 2015 showed that 15,000 Metric Tonnes were generated of which only 500 MT were formally collected. These quantities are expected to double in 2025 and will be ten times in 2050. To sustain the sector, Enviroserve has been actively setting up e-waste collection centers, training public and private institutions on proper e-waste disposal, training of young graduates & informal technicians and participate in awareness campaigns. The shared challenges include limited awareness raising on the dangerous of e-waste, lack of regulation on e-waste and other policy framework including EPR and lack of enforcement.  Possible solutions include approval of the e-waste regulations, ensure enforcement is done tightly and buy environmentally friendly electronics.

The workshop concluded with key lesson learnt and recommendations that everyone would ponder on regularly in respective institutions to ensure sector sustainability.

2.   Lesson learnt and key takeaways

 The training was timely and participants recommended that such workshop to create an impact should reach out to a big number of people including local leaders from grass root level, community health workers, Environmental Health and Sanitation Officers at District and sector levels, women council representatives at District level, Reserve forces, Students in Environment departments, households, Waste collectors, recyclers, landfill managers, schools, businesses generating wastes. Government would consider creating an incentive through taxes exemption on the importation for the waste collection equipment including waste bins, vehicles for waste collection and transport, and other equipment for waste treatment and disposal. This will lower prices of the waste equipment, hence lowering risk for polluting the environment and protect public health. Enforcement of existing laws and regulations must be assured by providing penalties and sanctions to maximize protection of both environment and public health. Other lessons learnt include:

  • The Government must avail a modern waste disposal landfill, encourage development infrastructures such as roads and encourage production of sorting materials.
  • Active participation of all involved stakeholders (waste generators, waste collection companies, recyclers, government on infrastructure side, and development partners)
  • Continuously awareness, education, and training
  • Develop a simple guide booklet, defining all steps of effective solid waste management, with well-defined responsibilities of actors – individual, leaders and companies,
  • Working together by strengthening collaboration between public, private and academia to improve the waste sector.