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SOER 2002 Fact Sheet

Introduction
The State of the Environment Review report aims to inform Batswana about the status of environment in the country. It also aims to support sustainable development decisions through provision of incredible, comprehensive and science based information one environmental conditions and trends, including their significance. The report addresses six key environment areas namely socioeconomic issues; land use and resources; biodiversity; atmosphere and climate change; water resources and waste and chemical management. ***** Indiscriminate dumping of waste and widespread littering are identified as some of the serious environmental problems in Botswana. This kind of waste disposal is a potential health risk to human, wildlife and livestock. Chemical and waste management have not received due attention. The results of these problems are an increased economic growth rates since 1996 and improved standards of living.

Waste and Chemical Management


fills. Mercury from broken thermometers is collected and returned to hospitals, while some are incinerated at clinic level creating emissions of dangerous mercury. Most hospitals attempt to segregate waste. Failure to segregate waste means clinical waste end up at landfills. Metals wastes range from scrap from motor vehicles, household equipment, electronic devices and cans. Scrap metals are piled on private premises, dumped in the bush, abandoned in the streets or brought to the communal landfill sites or kept in backyards. No big environmental harm is expected from household equipment as now there is a tendency to utilize a would be scrap for other purposes. There is no notable disposal of electronic devices at the dumping sites except those disposed off by government offices, parastatals and business companies. The consumption of canned food generates 6500 tones of the metal wastes each year. Beverage cans account for 90% of all cans consumed in the country. Waste from tyres is durable and non-biodegradable and therefore cannot be easily destroyed by nature. Tyres traps air which makes it difficult to compact them in landfills. Tyres are made up of materials that produce large quantities of black acid when burnt. Tyres are a breeding place for mosquitoes because of their shape which has an ability to capture and store water. It is projected that in 2005 there would be 147 400 registered vehicles in Gaborone. Approximately 832 600 tyres will be required for all these vehicles. Out of this number 306 00 will go to scrap. Batteries waste is increasing with the number of vehicles. Almost all battery waste end up at the landfill sites if not disposed of indiscriminately. They pose a danger if disposed off in this manner because they release toxic substances such as cadmium, nickel, mercury, manganese, lithium, silver, zinc and ammonium chloride. Water resources are likely to be contaminated from such substances. Transboundary Movement of Waste There is a growing evidence of illegal shipment of hazardous waste across international borders. Botswana must also guard against being used as a dumping ground of hazardous waste as this will pose threats to the environment. Potential Impacts of wastes on the environment There is no information on the effect of hazardous waste in Botswana. However some studies have revealed likely environmental problems, eg infection caused by deficient disposal method of hospital waste; contamination of water due to chemical wastes;

State of Waste
There is no national database on volumes of waste generated in Botswana. Types of waste Main types of waste include used oil, plastic, paper, glass packaging waste, medical/clinical waste, metal waste, battery and tyre waste. Mining and government activities are the main generators of oil containing wastes estimated at one million litres each. Oil sales are projected to grow to 12.7 million litres by the year 2005 with a corresponding recovery of 6.34 million liters. Oil disposal is proving very difficult for the oil industry as customers and government expect oil companies to offer solutions. Its difficult to estimate the quantity of clinical waste produced in healthcare facilities. Storage of clinical waste is unsatisfactory. Handling is left to staff with no proper training. Some clinical waste is burned, sharp containers are incinerated or burnt and some are sent to the land

An Environment Conscious and Friendly Nation

explosions and deaths caused by gas generated at disposal sites, pollution of underground water resulting from waste oils, safety of workers etc. Some impacts result from poor standards of design, construction and siting of pit latrines.

Soap, shampoos and surfactants are imported in volumes enough to cater for demands in the country. Pesticides imported include insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and rodenticides. Pesticides used by government and estimatedvolumes per year are fenitrothion (2500 L), deltamethrin (1000L), alphamethrin (50L), fenithion (2500L), flucomafen and difenacom an dtheir quantities are unknown, (Carl Bro, 1999a). Aluminium phosphate is used for large scale storage of grain while pirimiphosmethyl, methacrifos, malathion are used for small scale storage of grain. There are internationally banned or severely restricted pesticides such as aldrin, hexachlorobenzene, chlorade, ethylene dibromide and lindane. Low risk chemicals include nickel, aluminium and its compounds, lead ores, tar, creosote, lubricarion greases, oils, inorganic chlorine compounds, iodine, fluorides, bromides and their compounds, selenium and its compounds, mercury, inorganic acids, tepes, photographic chemicals, rubber, plastic additives etc.

State of Chemicals
Botswana has a very small chemical base and as a result most chemicals are mainly imported from South Africa. It is mainly chemical formulations that are manufactured for the limited industrial base. A number of sectors and activities use chemicals and produce chemical waste. These are mining, printing, leather industries, agriculture, households, government and manufacturing. Chemical Risk Assessment Chemicals are categorized into three categories, high risk chemicals, low risk chemicals and other chemicals. Asbestos is identified as one of the high risk chemicals and it is imported in the form of pipes, ducts, and corrugated sheets. Other high risk chemicals are quartz sand, quartz, chalk and cryolite. BTX compounds are imported into Botswana by trade, wholesalers and retail dealers. Benzene, toluene and xylene are mostly used as solvent ot thinner in paints, vanishes, lacquers, waxes etc, (Carl Bro, 1999a). White spirits, solvents and thinners are also imported by chemical industries, wholesalers and dealers. These are used in the manufacture of paint and degreasing metal handling and processing. In 1996 and 1997, 990 m3 and 1355m3 were imported respectively, (Carl Bro, 1999a). Petrol and diesel fuels are imported. In 1997, 282, 000 m3 of petrol was imported and 266, 000m3 was leaded and the remainder was unleaded. This translates to 106 tones of lead that were used in that year. The number of registered vehicles is increasing and this will result in the increase in the use of petrol and diesel. Lead oxide and lead carbonate are major types of lead that are imported into Botswana. These compounds are mostly used as pigments in paint. 200 tones of lead oxides are imported per year and about 4.5 tones and 5.5 tones of lead carbonates were imported in 1996 and 1997 respectively. It is estimated that 0.613 tones of these lead compounds are released into the air per annum. A total of 5.42 and 1.2025 tones are emitted to waste water and soil respectively. The estimations are based on the European Union Technical Guidance Document of 1996. Chromium compounds are used in tannery industries of which the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) is the major user. BMC uses on the average 600 tones of chromate per annum. Trade Statistics indicates importation of some small proportions of other chromates.

Source: State of the Environment Review Report (2002) NCSA.

For more information Contact National Conservation Strategy Coordinating Agency Ministry of Environment, Wildlife &Tourism P/Bag 0068 Gaborone, Botswana Tel: 267 390 2050 Fax: 267 3902051 Email: envirobotswana@gov.bw Internet address: www.envirobotswana.gov.bw

An Environment Conscious and Friendly Nation