From Trash to Treasure: How Zimbabwe’s First Waste-to-Energy Plant is Transforming Harare

A groundbreaking project that turns waste into electricity is changing the face of Zimbabwe’s capital city.

by Motoni Olodun

Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare, is undergoing a major transformation thanks to a groundbreaking project that turns waste into electricity. The Pomona Waste Management system, once a notorious dumpsite that caused fires, floods and air pollution, is now a modern recycling plant that will generate up to 22 megawatts of power from methane gas.

The project, which was launched by President Mnangagwa yesterday, is a joint venture between the government, the city council and Geo Pomona Waste Management Pvt Ltd, a private company that was entrusted to run the site in April 2022. The president hailed the project as a flagship initiative that should be replicated across the country to improve the sanitation, health and environment of the communities.

“This project must emerge as a flagship waste-to-energy project that can be replicated in other parts of our country. I wish you great success as you accelerate the implementation of the project. The undesirable landfills, including the resultant ground and air pollution, should now cease to be a public, health and environmental challenge,” he said.

The president also urged the citizens to play their part as stewards of a clean and healthy environment and to reject filthy surroundings and littering. He said the government welcomes the participation of the private sector in accelerating the country’s economic growth and providing world-class services.

The Pomona Waste Management system is the first in Zimbabwe and one of the few in Africa. According to the World Bank, only 4 per cent of African waste is recycled, compared to 22 per cent in Europe and 16 per cent in North America. The bank also estimates that Africa generates about 70 million tonnes of waste annually, expected to rise to 160 million tonnes by 2025.

The project is expected to have multiple benefits for Harare and its residents. It will reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills, saving space and money. It will also produce clean and renewable energy that will augment the national grid and help address the power shortages that have plagued the country for years. It will also create jobs and income opportunities for the local people, especially women and youth, who comprise most of the staff.

The project will also have recreational facilities such as basketball courts, tennis courts, a soccer field and a restaurant, which are at different stages of construction. These will provide entertainment and leisure options for the people and enhance the aesthetic value of the site.

The project aligns with the government’s vision of turning Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income society by 2030 and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those related to clean energy, climate action and sustainable cities. It is also a testament to the confidence and innovation of the investors, who have transformed the site from an eyesore to a promising and clean infrastructure.

The project has received support and praise from various stakeholders, including the Environmental Management Agency, the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, the Ministry of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Harare Metropolitan Province and the residents of the nearby areas. They have expressed their satisfaction with the facelift of the site and the potential benefits of the project.

The project is expected to be completed in three years, with the construction of the waste-to-energy plant starting in the third year. The investors have assured the president and the public that they will remain focused and committed to the speedy and successful implementation of the project.

Source: The Herald

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