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ADDRESS BY HIS WORSHIP COUNCILLOR WILD NDIPO, MAYOR OF BLANTYRE CITY AT THE OCCASION OF WASTE MANAGEMENT AGREEMENT SIGNING CEREMONY WITH MEDICAL SOCIETY OF MALAWI

Fellow residents

Let me first thank each one of you for being here as we recognize MASM’s generous sponsorship in support of the City Council and residents of Blantyre City and usher in a new era of innovative solutions to some of our city’s most challenging problems.

I am incredibly excited about this and grateful to Mr. Sydney Chikoti and his team at MASM as well as to Mr. Bray and his team at WASTE Advisers for spearheading this initiative and supporting the residents of Blantyre City in keeping our city clean and our soils healthy.

Mayor Wild Ndipo addressing the residents

In my role as Mayor, I often think about what it is that the residents of Blantyre City deserve from those who serve them in the Council. As public servants, we are representatives of the people.

We come into work every day to ensure that the needs of Blantyre City residents are met, to ensure that their lives are improved, to ensure that we build a city for future generations that is more sustainable and more equitable than the one we found when we came into office.

At a minimum, I firmly believe that our residents deserve a clean environment, a high standard of public health, and reliable access to food and nourishment. To address this, it is clear to all of us here that waste management is a critical area for us to get right as a Council.

Billy Bray of Waste Advisors explaining how organic waste is turned into composite

We are incredibly grateful to MASM, WASTE Advisers, and the other partners in the room today that are working with us to meet this mandate. We spend a lot of time talking about plastic waste, as we have all become too familiar with the blue plastic bags and the water bottles that litter our roads and waterways.

But today, I would like to speak on organic waste. What many don’t realize is that while plastics are a highly visible issue, the most substantial waste management challenge facing Malawi, and facing Blantyre City specifically, is organic waste.

More than 85 percent of our city’s waste –stream is organic, meaning it can be decomposed. At the moment, most of this waste ends up burned, dumped in waterways or on the roadside, or disposed of at the landfill.

When this waste is burned, it emits harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change and environmental degradation. When it’s dumped into waterways or on the roadside, it carries serious impacts on the environment and the public health of our residents.

Not only does it pollute and destroy aquatic environments and our surroundings, but it also serves as a dangerous vector for disease-carrying pathogens, insects, and rodents, which all contribute to illnesses and a general lack of well-being for those who call Blantyre home.

When it is sent to the landfill, it emits harmful methane emissions, which are 50 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and it seeps into surrounding soils and waterways bringing diseases to surrounding residents.

When one thinks about these impacts in the context of our vision to bring a clean environment, public health, and reliable nourishment to the people of Blantyre City, it becomes abundantly clear that this issue is a real priority for the government to address.

If we can sustainably tackle the organic waste issue in our city, we cut down on environmental degradation, reduce the incidence of waterborne, insect-borne, and food-borne illness, and ensure that our residents are provided with a city they can be proud of.

And it is our responsibility, and truly our privilege and honor, to work towards this as a Council. But just as much as this organic waste is a challenge, it also represents a brilliant opportunity.

If we can think innovatively about how we handle this waste, and we do not simply think about it in the traditional terms of ‘it’s just garbage, let’s get rid of it, and instead think about this waste as a resource, then we have a bold chance in our hands to set an example not just for Malawi, and not just for Africa, but for the entire world.

For the last seven years, we have partnered with WASTE Advisers to do just that. To envision strategies that let us as a Council and a City think about waste as a valuable resource.

Our relationship started with the successful development of more than 44 public toilets across the city to tackle our sanitation waste challenge. In the last three years, we have partnered on a wonderful co-composting operation to collect waste from our city’s markets and convert it into high-quality compost that can restore our soils and boost our crop yields.

MASM chief executive officer Sydney Chikoti delivering his speech

Today, I am thrilled to bring MASM into the picture, to gracefully accept their support for this pioneering work, to engage them as a responsible corporate partner as we take on the organic waste challenge.

MASM is our nation’s leader in public health. They ensure that so many of us are provided with the medical services we need to live healthy and meaningful lives. This sponsorship only further cements their commitment to protecting and enriching the public health and urban environment for all Malawians.

With this powerful sponsorship of nearly five million Kwacha, MASM is providing 80 waste separation bins, 1 new skip, and 3 months of transportation to move the waste from the markets to the compost treatment site, eliminating a large portion of the organic waste challenge we face as a city, and ultimately protecting the health of our residents.

As many of you know, we hold a lot of ‘discussions’ in Malawi. We talk about issues, we write hundred-page strategies. We come up with ten-year plans and bold visions for how things could look. And this is wonderful.

It shows that we are a nation of visionaries with bold ideas for our future as a country, ambitious plans for what Malawi will look like for our grandchildren and their grandchildren thereafter.

But how many of those visions, those grand strategies, are fulfilled entirely? How often do we take ourselves to task and ask ‘but what are we doing on the ground to see these come to fruition? What steps can we take today to see those strategies manifested tomorrow?’

And that, ladies and gentlemen, that, is why I am so excited about this event here today. As we launch this innovative program, it represents a concrete and exciting step towards many of the strategies and goals that we already have before us.

On Malawi Vision 2063, this partnership on waste management and composting allows us to make strides toward Pillars 1 and 3.

On Agricultural Productivity, the first pillar in the strategy, we will restore the nation’s soils and increase crop yields in a sustainable, climate-friendly fashion.

On Urbanization, the third pillar, this partnership represents a shift towards Blantyre becoming a ‘smart city’ with a well-planned use of resources and public-private partnerships to tackle waste management issues.

On the National Waste Management Strategy, launched last week by Hon. Nancy Tembo, MP, Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources, this initiative is a tangible action plan for waste separation and the development of a fully circular economy for urban waste and refuse, two critical components of the document.

And with that, let us see this event from two angles. For one, let us allow ourselves to celebrate MASM, WASTE Advisers, and the Council for pioneering this innovative initiative and for the long hours and years of progress that have gone into getting us here.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, let us see this event as a starting point, a new day, the ushering in of a new era for the private sector and government at all levels.

An era of innovation in corporate social responsibility, in the way private sector players like MASM partner with the government on strategic projects, in finding unique solutions to the most challenging problems to build a better future for Malawi.

And let this be a beacon of hope and an invitation. An invitation for more corporate partnerships on this initiative. An invitation for new ideas from residents and from companies on how we can take it even further.

An invitation for the rest of Malawi to follow suit and to learn and share with the Blantyre City Council as we step into this new era.

I hope to look back at this event and see it as the launch of something crucially important for our nation. To see MASM and WASTE Advisers as pioneers in this field.

To read about how Malawi set the example for the rest of the world and how we built resilient circular economies from waste.

May God Bless all of you. May God Bless Blantyre City and its residents. May God Bless Malawi.

I thank you for your kind attention

 

Deputy Mayor opens modern clinic

  • Dr Queen Dube, Chief of Health Services in the Ministry of Health;
  • Members of the Patel family;
  • Members of staff at Atlas Medical Centre;
  • Invited guests;
  • Members of the media;
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

Today, we witness another milestone in our beautiful city. Today, we rewrite the history of medical service delivery in Blantyre City.

I am glad to be part of this auspicious occasion. Thank you for inviting me to this grand opening of Atlas Medical Centre.

Why am I excited about the opening of this medical facility?

I am delighted and confident that this hospital will radically improve the quality of service and infrastructure for patients.

Makwinja delivering his speech

Atlas Medical Centre will be of great benefit to the local community both in terms of the medical services that will be provided here and of course the employment opportunities that it will offer.

I am reliably told that although it has started with day time opening, very soon, it will offer 24 hours services.

Ladies and Gentlemen, to set up a medical facility of this kind is no mean achievement.

We are today witnessing the effort and achievement of the Patel family but which will touch many lives in our city and beyond.

I am told that the centre will provide among other services general practitioner clinic, a specialist clinic in hypertension, diabetes, kidneys, infectious diseases, pediatrics and general surgery.

Another exciting news is that it will provide diagnostic laboratory such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), cardiac tests among other specialized tests.

The centre has physiotherapy and a pharmacy that will store various types of drugs.

Ladies and Gentlemen, some of these services are the ones only a few privileged Malawians were accessing outside the country. Now, these services will be locally available. We are very grateful for that.

Let me appeal to the owners of the hospital to maintain the standards they have set out.

We have seen others raising high expectations at the beginning but few years down the line, they become just like any other health facility.

You have told us that your vision is to provide quality health care services for all members of society, use advanced and innovative health care technology and also provide affordable and equitable health care services.

Your acknowledgement that Malawi health care service has been faced with numerous obstacles over the years gives us hope and it is our prayer that you stick to this promise.

Mwakwinja together with Dr Queen Dube on his right and Dr Parth Patel on his left

Finally, I would like to pay tribute and congratulate the directors of Atlas Medical Centre for investing in serving and saving the lives of Malawians.

We look forward to reaping the fruits in terms of efficiency, client satisfaction and better patient relations.

We are optimistic that Atlas Medical Centre will lead to better health, better care and better lives for the people of Blantyre City.

I would like to conclude by thanking Dr Parth Patel for extending an invitation so that I can be here and speak as we celebrate the opening of this hospital.

I believe this new hospital will a great credit to Malawi’s health services and many thanks should go to everyone who has helped to make it possible.

To the management and staff, I wish you all the best as you embark on a life-saving mission.

With these few remarks, it is now my singular honour and privilege to declare Atlas Medical Centre officially opened.

I thank you all for your kind attention and may God bless you.

Council plans to plant 15 000 indigenous trees

The Deputy Mayor Councillor Joseph Makwinja says Blantyre City Council plans to plant at least 15,000 indigenous tree seedlings this year to dress Mudi River, Nasolo River, Naperi River, Limbe River, Nyambadwe Hill and Mthawira Hill.

Mcvittie Chiphwanya, Escom Regional Manager (South) planting a tree

Makwinja on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 commended Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) for partnering the Council in tree planting exercise. Escom plans to support the Council plant 5,000 seedlings.

“It is our wish as the Council to dress our rivers, hills and all marginal land within the City with indigenous trees,” Makwinja says.

Makwinja plants a tree

This year’s tree planting is being done under the theme “Trees and forests for improved health and well-being because trees and forests provide adorable landscape within the City.

“As responsible citizens and residents let us join hands in the management and maintenance of trees in all our surroundings. Remember, it is not about the number of trees planted, but how many have been nurtured, well managed, survived and matured,” he says.

Together, we can make Blantyre City clean and green again and transform the landscape and livelihood.