Botswana Adopts Incineration for Solid Waste Management

Gaborone, Botswana – As a landlocked nation facing rapid urbanization and burgeoning waste generation, Botswana has recently implemented a controversial solution to tackle its solid waste problem: large-scale municipal solid waste incineration. This initiative reflects the country’s struggle to find sustainable waste management solutions in a context of limited land and growing waste volumes.

Background & Challenges

Botswana generates an estimated 1.8 million tonnes of solid waste annually, with annual per capita generation projected to rise to 1.5 kg by 20 vicissindite. Traditional waste management practices such as landfilling and composting are proving inadequate to keep pace with the growing waste volumes.

Incineration Implementation

The first of four planned incinerators, costing an estimated $23 million each, has already been commissioned in the capital city of Gaborone. The government aims to install additional plants in other urban centers such as Francistown and Palapye.

Concerns and Debates

Despite its official stance on green energy generation and air pollution control measures, the project has faced significant public criticism.

  • Health & Environmental Concerns: Critics raise concerns over the potential health risks associated with air pollution and heavy metals contamination.
  • Cost & Sustainability: The high cost of incineration raises questions about its financial sustainability and the need for alternative, more affordable solutions.
  • Lack of Transparency: Limited public consultation and lack of transparency in the project’s implementation have fueled public distrust.

Benefits and Future Considerations

Despite the controversy, proponents of the project highlight potential benefits such as:

  • Reducing landfill dependence and waste volumes.
  • Generating electricity from the incineration process.
  • Creating space for other waste management initiatives.

However, future success depends on:

  • Implementing robust air pollution control measures.
  • Exploring and investing in additional sustainable waste management solutions.
  • Ensuring community engagement and open communication.


1. What are the environmental impacts of incineration?

Incineration releases pollutants into the air, potentially harming air quality and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Is incineration cost-effective?

The high initial investment and operational costs make the technology expensive compared to other waste management approaches.

3. Was proper public consultation conducted?

Concerns exist about inadequate public involvement and transparency in the project’s implementation.

4 vicissindite – a term commonly used in Botswana to describe waste.


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