Paul

Welcome to another Open Forum meeting on the CFP chat. I am delighted to welcome our guest today, Wafa Hmadi, NAYD CFP for Tunisia. Please feel free to ask questions and engage in conversation with her at any time.

Thank you for giving up your time today Wafa. Why you are motivated by environmental sustainability?

 

Wafa

Thank you Paul for this interesting exchange opportunity. I’m a Masters student specializing in Environmental Engineering at ‎the Université de Tunis El Manar. I was motivated to choose this course because of the lack of care to the environment in Tunisia. The way to treat environmental problems took my interest.

 

(Welcomes from Mountassir, CFP Chad, Frederick, CFP Ghana, Babs, CFP Cameroon, Phatismo, CFP Botswana, Nyaribi, CFP Uganda, Bashiru, CFP Sierra Leone)

 

Paul

Lack of care in Tunisia? Is the environment not a government priority?

 

Wafa

No it’s not. We signed and rectified protocols and agendas with UNFCC but there is little implementation, just talk. The environment hasn’t been a priority for some time as they keep changing the structure at The Ministry of Environment. This has lead to instability of work and engagements. resulting in lack of coordination between stakeholders and therefore inefficient solutions to the problems.

 

Babs

Can you tell us about the existing environmental policies in your county? How sustainable are they?

 

Wafa

So lets discusses the waste sector. We only do the collection phase of waste. There is no waste management, no sorting of waste even though we have an agency of waste management. This agency is under the supervision of the ministry of enviorment

 

Phatsimo

I have realised that in most African countries we only do waste collection but we fail to implement waste management. Any advices on how waste management can be done and how it relates with sustainable development goals??

 

Wafa

By sorting from the source

 

Babs

I think one of the major issues with waste management in African countries is lack of adequate capacity gap assessment based on action oriented research.

We rely too much on copy and paste without an appropriate knowledge on what should be done

 

Wafa

There are many alternative and honestly in Tunisia the positive thing is that many NGOs implement waste management initiatives such as collection and recycling. Trach party, ecoschools, ecouniversities  work on collecting and treating different types of organic plastic.

 

Paul

In Europe the EU are responsible for waste management directives and individual countries have to adhere to these rules otherwise they get fined. In Scotland we have different coloured bins as well as general recycling facilities outside supermarkets and at landfill sites. The grey bin (general waste) is not collected very often.

 

Wafa

We do have the coloured bins but only in the fancy cities in Tunisia. In other regions there isn’t even any landfill.

 

Nyaribi

Here in Uganda and particularly in Mbale district, a composite site has been created to collect waste for recycling. It is helping that the initiative is supported by the World Bank

 

Paul

Are we saying that Africa is not managing waste effectively if at all?

 

Phatsimo

We have. landfills in every district and town in Botswana, waste is collected on a weekly basis in homesteads and homes are charged a certain affordable amount. Recycling is carried out bt the government for certain products but not on a large scale. Individuals and private companies also do recycling of certain products but this is not practiced on a large scale.

 

Paul

Waste Management relates to quite a few of the SDGs. What can be done about it? Should we not encourage entrepreneurship in the recycling industry?

 

Wafa

I think Public Private Partnership can be one of the solution and delegate some of the work to youth to help launch their enterprises.

 

Paul

Maybe start by having courses at university to incentivise?

 

Nyaribi

Yes, waste management is still a big challenge. People still throw water bottles out of cars and buses, polythene bags from supermarkets are poorly managed. Laws on banning the polythene have not been implemented.

 

Paul

I think there are many examples of recycling rubber/plastics etc into profitable commodities? Plastic bags are being banned in the UK, unless they are recyclable. Plastic water bottles are commonly and easily recycled

 

Wafa

3 months ago plastic bags were banned in Tunisia too. Now we use only paper bags

 

Nyaribi

How is the response to the ban? Are people following through?

 

Wafa

The people are even refusing paper bags and going for our traditional bags. We call them koffa, and it lasts for so long.

 

Nyaribi

Oh great to note. Here it is still a challenge

 

Paul

Many of our supermarkets are selling their own branded  ‘green’ bags to encourage continued use of the same bag.

 

Nyaribi

Oh okay, for how long can one use the same bag?

 

Paul

Many years…the supermarket makes some money out of it, the key thing is that it improves the supermarket’s environmental credentials and hence the brand but it also acts as a marketing tool. The Local Council collects food and garden waste and recycles as compost – useful for farmers and gardeners. We urgently need to eliminate plastic – its killing the oceans

 

Wafa

Plastic waste is killing the biodiversity.

 

Phatsimo

Plastic is also killing domesticated and wild animals

 

Paul

When we chatted with Eve de la Mothe Karoubi, Manager UN SDSN, she presented us with the Africa SDG Index report. The report for Tunisia shows a worsening trend for SDG 13 (climate change) (only 1 of 5 countries in Africa). I find this a real surprise considering the solar power potential. Can this also be blamed with the Ministry of the Environment? What can be done to reverse this?

 

Wafa

Yes, especially as we are in trouble meeting our declared engagement with UNFCC. We’ve committed to reaching 30% of renewable energy by 2030 yet in 2018 we are only doing 3 to 4% of renewable energy There are no big projects in renewable energy that will change our source of consumption to electricity.

 

Paul

What is the main source of energy atm?

 

Wafa

Oil and gas

 

Paul

Is the oil and gas produced in Tunisia?

 

Wafa

Some of it yes. We have hydraulic From dams 0,4% and 2.6% wind energy

 

Paul

So there will be a conflict of interest for the private oil and gas sector and also the government wrt tax income. There must be huge scope for solar, especially as the price of solar panels is coming gown. I understand some engineers have even invented plastic based solar panels.

This an illustration of current energy production in Tunsia.

 

 

Paul

It looks like natural gas is by far the largest provider of energy…and I guess it will be cheap. I can understand the issue now. It will have a competitive edge (cheaper price) unless solar is developed on a massive scale and maybe the panels are made locally. Maybe local energy supply through solar panels be more cost effective where communities are not connected to the national grid…just a thought….in Scotland we have local communities connected by wind power. There is no shortage of wind here!

 

 

Wafa

What we’re trying to do with our allies  is the promotion of renewable energies, starting projects and partnerships with the support of GIZ (German-Tunisian cooperation) for instance where we’re looking into energy governance on the local scale with municipalities and local public institutions. We thought of who is not connected first. Their consumption is going to be 100% of Renewable Energy

 

Paul

Thank you Wafa and all the contributors today. If any of you would like to write a BLOG on waste management solutions in their country please do! Just a reminder that if anyone wants to talk about the work they do in their community and the issues faced please let me know.

The above conversation took place on the NAYD Country Focal Point facebook chat group 17th August 2018