Students at the University of Malawi under the banner Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic have bemoaned the rising cases of waste mismanagement in the country’s cities, Zomba in particular.
This was revealed late last week during a Staff-Student Seminar held at the Faculty of Law, under the topic; ‘Environmental Justice in Waste Management; Rights Holders and Duty Bearers.’
Presenting research findings, Titani Chalira a fourth year law student, said it is very worrisome that up to date, councils especially in major cities, are failing to ensure that there is proper waste management.
Chalira said their findings has alluded to lack of funding and failure to raise awareness as some of the key challenges facilitating waste mismanagement in major cities.
In his paper, Faith Zidana another fourth year law student, said if the general public starts recognizing nature as having legal capacity and viewing it as having enforceable rights, all the environmental injustices would be history.
Zidana further said the Clinic is then calling for action in addressing such waste mismanagement, especially the sewer system.
In his speech, Professor Sosten Chiotha who was the guest of honour, called for concrete solutions to all the environmental problems which Zomba district is currently facing.
Professor Chiotha highlighted that the consequences of upstream activities, disproportionately affects the poor downstream as injustice, hence the need to properly handle all the wastes in the old city.
“We are having challenges in managing our solid and liquid wastes, and there is need for a proper system in waste management, funding and overhaul behavioural change,” said Chiotha.
environmental activist Austin Kajawa who represented communities who are the victims of sewage mismanagement in Zomba called for an urgent action on the issue.
“The poor sewage management has been a problem for us villagers around this river and lake Chirwa, in which the sewage spills in. If proper research is done, it can reveal that apart from the pungent smell, the water borne diseases that are prevalent in this area, are as a result of such mismanagement.” added Kajawa.
In his reaction, Busta Chiona, Director of Public Health for Zomba City Council while admitting poor waste management, cited lack of funding as a major cause and he has since called for stakeholder’s support in addressing the crisis.
The Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic is one of the student led Legal Clinics established under the Faculty of Law, with an aim to contribute to sustainable development by protecting and conserving the environment.
The Clinic aspires to instill a sense of social justice, impart knowledge to students and members of the communities on environmental management