Recycling agro waste


HOW many of you have driven along Lumumba Road past the City Market? What normally rings in your mind as you are driving along that road, especially the stretch from the junction with Kafue Road up to Matero Police Station?

I must be frank with you that the last time I drove on that road was in 2016.
I was driving from the industrial area towards Kamwala. I developed butterflies in my stomach. That stretch is a disaster in waiting. I shudder to imagine what can happen if a truck or a minibus loses control.
People selling along that stretch have some of their stands starting right at the edge of the road. The traffic lights at the junction of Los Angeles Road are used to support some stands.
Honestly, jobs are rare in this country but we should not risk our lives to such extents. We can vend on the streets but let there be order.
Anyway, that is just part of something which troubles my mind whenever I think of driving along that road. However, as if that was not enough, the island demarcating the south and north-bound traffic is now used for another purpose not meant to be.
Walking along that island, you may notice heaps and heaps of vegetable waste, plastics, and on Mondays, you may even find empty beers packs (Chibuku) containing the unimaginable.
With time, part of that trash finds itself in the drainage and during this time of the year, water smells as though it is coming from sewer waste.
There are two things that we can do about that unfortunate situation.
I think Government needs to ban the production and usage of plastic bags and bottles. We can only allow plastic containers from five litres and above.
The sad part is that these non-biodegradable materials find themselves in our systems and that is a disaster to happen soon. Government can charge higher taxes for companies that are trading in plastics, unless they have a recycling plant or system within their business lines.
Kenya has done this and it is with good intentions. Those plastics are picked by goats and chickens in our communities and some of them are ground to smaller pieces as they chew and they easily get into their blood systems.
Ultimately, we have been consuming them through such food chains. This is something the ministries of Health, Commerce and Local Government should seriously think about.
Lastly, farmers do bring vegetables such as cabbage, rape and other leafy crops to Soweto. Part of these products get wasted and they are thrown along that island.
In essence, we are throwing away fertiliser which we bought at very high prices. It is time people with money think of investing in recycling waste agricultural materials to come up with organic fertilisers.
Due to the healthy eating habits of people, which are becoming a lifestyle, demand for organic foods will increase and soon they will be fetching more than copper or diamonds.
This is a niche market. We need to start developing now. People are grappling with obesity and the diseases that come with bad eating habits. Thinking of exploring this business opportunity may make one look like a mad person now, but in less than 10 years ahead, one is likely to make good money and be like ‘them’.
This author is an agribusiness practitioner.

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