The Ministry of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, in collaboration with the National Co-operative College (NCC), held, today, a one-day workshop on recycling for cooperatives at the seat of the NCC in Terre Rouge.
The Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah; the Director of the Solid Waste Management Division of the Ministry of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change, Mr Bhaguthsing Beerachee; the Director of the NCC, Mr Sanjeev Coonjobeeharry; and other personalities were present at the launching ceremony of the workshop.
In his address, Mr Bholah underlined that while the 1.3 million people in Mauritius generated 1,488 tonnes of waste daily and that in 2021, some 501,167 tonnes of solid wastes were disposed at the Mare Chicose sanitary landfill, Government had to disburse Rs 1.5 billion annually for the collection and transfer of waste as well as for the maintenance of the disposal sites. He thus stressed that there was a potential for cooperatives to harness opportunities in the waste and recycling sector, namely by giving a second life to waste, which would encourage the shift towards a circular economy.
The Minister recalled that Government was already stimulating the growth of other forms of cooperatives besides agriculture and was motivating cooperatives to take the path towards sustainable development through various forms of support. He talked of the Solar Photovoltaic Rebate Scheme which enabled 25 cooperatives to produce green energy, and the manufacture of eco bags by cooperatives, following training by NCC. Schemes for cooperative societies to embark in bio/organic farming activities and natural farming systems were also mentioned.
The role of the NCC in driving the training of cooperatives through partnerships with stakeholders in the waste and recycling industry was commended, too, by Minister Bholah.
The Director of the Solid Waste Management Division, for his part, set the stage for the workshop by giving to the 40 presidents of Federation of Cooperatives and heads of cooperative societies an overall picture of waste management in Mauritius. He indicated that out of the tonnes of solid wastes disposed at the Mare Chicose sanitary landfill, over 50% comprised organic wastes (food and yard wastes) with the remaining being recyclables such as paper, plastics, glass, metals and textile wastes.
Mr Beerachee explained that as a sustainable approach was urgently required to deal with this significant waste generation, a new Solid Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy and Action Plan was elaborated with the financial assistance of the Agence Française de Développement. He pointed out that one of the key components of the Strategy was ‘Increase in Resource Recovery’, which focused on making possible waste segregation at source in Mauritius, and the coming into operation of regional composting plants and sorting units. These initiatives are expected to contribute to the development of the recycling industry in line with Government’s vision of implementing a circular economy approach in the solid waste management sector.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of Mauritius.