Lesotho

Submitted by Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture

(Note: The Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture did not prioritize waste streams)

Summary of information
Highest priority waste streams
N/A
Highest priority areas of capacity building
1. Policy and regulatory; technical and scientific
2. Financial
Narrative summary
Lesotho (Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture)’s responses to the needs assessment survey show, above all, a need to develop policies and the technical capacity for waste management. From a waste stream-centered perspective, waste management laws in the country are in various differing stages of development. While a healthcare waste policy was developed in 2010, no regulations exist for general hazardous waste. Policymaking and enforcement thus need to be strengthened. In terms of technical capacity, the country also needs to build its waste management infrastructure and make clear guidelines available for each waste stream. The responses finally suggest that in order to carry out such improvements, governmental and societal interest in waste management must be increased. Policies, such as those for industrial waste and MSW, have not been enforced when institutional priorities are different. The segregation of organic and plastic waste from MSW also does not interest stakeholders.

Industrial waste
Above all, Lesotho needs to build upon its technical capacities of managing industrial waste. Waste management guidelines and standards need to be developed. However, the responses suggest that this is currently a difficult task due to the lack of infrastructure, such as an accredited national environmental laboratory, and the lack of financial resources. Efforts to regulate industrial waste taken by the government are undermined by the lack of funds; only certain planned efforts can be implemented. Severe understaffing and a lack of skilled human resources also undermine the effectiveness of governmental efforts, even if efforts are well-coordinated. Alternative measures at the level of society or the waste-generating industries are not taken. All in all, industrial waste management is not a priority for the government of Lesotho, and efforts are limited in resources, scope, and effectiveness.

Municipal solid waste (MSW)
Lesotho lacks a set of clear guidelines and policy directions to improve MSW management. There are currently no MSW management strategies and regulations, while existing MSW disposal processes differ in standards and methods. To support the development of a policy, funds need to be made available. Efforts also need to be directed towards the community, developing practices such as waste segregation. Nevertheless, institutions responsible for MSW, from the local to the national level, have differing priorities; coordination between them is generally poor.

Hazardous waste
With regards to hazardous waste management, the responses suggest that legislative and technical capacity is the main area to be improved. There are no policies to guide hazardous waste management; the development of one is hence a priority. There is a lack of infrastructure to collect and treat hazardous waste, thus standards and methods differ by region or municipality. Differing governmental priorities also deplete funds from hazardous waste management. A proposed recycling programme for fluorescent lamps, for example, could not be implemented due to low funds. Commitment levels of governmental institutions to hazardous waste management need to be improved. No sector, for example, takes direct responsibility for managing used oils. Finally, public awareness of the risks of hazardous waste also could be improved. Hence, a general all-round improvement of hazardous waste management is needed for the country.

Organic waste and waste agricultural biomass (WAB)
There is limited interest in the use of organic waste and WAB in Lesotho due to a societal preference for artificial fertilizers. Policies encouraging the use of organic waste could be developed, while technical guidelines could be published. The use of WAB as an energy resource is also not mentioned, but could also be developed. These policies will, however, require the dedication of governmental institutions and funds. The availability of skilled human resources and funds is currently very limited.

Healthcare waste
Healthcare waste management is in partial existence in Lesotho, but could be more comprehensive. A healthcare waste policy has been in force since 2010, and regulations can be clearly addressed from authorities to healthcare staff (public hospitals are usually more informed than private hospitals). However, little funding is available for healthcare waste management, such as a sustainable procurement policy to reduce the generation of mercury as waste. The technical capacity for healthcare waste management differs by sector. For example, the curative services and public health practitioners have different abilities and standards. Finally, the wider community is generally unaware of the risks of healthcare waste; public education may hence be another area for capacity-building.

E-waste
E-waste management is still very much in development in Lesotho. Although there are currently no regulations regarding e-waste, studies are being undertaken in preparation for future legislation. These studies are needed as there is currently little knowledge on both the means of e-waste management, and the effects of mismanagement. As well as technical aspects, a study of institutional structures to manage e-waste needs to be conducted. Funding and public awareness concerns are thus important, but more long-term issues to be resolved.

Waste plastics
A lack of general support has hindered the management of waste plastics in Lesotho. The enactment of policies, such as a levy on plastic consumption, has been particularly slow. There is inadequate infrastructure for the recycling of plastics, yet no governmental budget has been allocated towards the development of recycling activities. Awareness-raising programmes in the community only receive limited support. Hence it is important to develop a general interest towards the management of waste plastics before efforts can be implemented with greater success.