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Poor waste management and flooding in Antananarivo Madagascar

Approximately 100,000 additional inhabitants each year stream to Madagascar’s capital, a city where the correlation between exposure to floods, urban poverty, pollution, and waste management is not yet routine for the Malagasy people. Few are those who know how to sort their domestic waste, with a majority not owning a garbage bin at home. The Municipal Sanitation Company (SMA), ex SAMVA or Autonomous Maintenance Service of the City of Antananarivo can only collect half of the more than 4,000 cubic meters per day of solid waste.

The climate of Madagascar is characterised by a dry season, from April to October, and a rainy season from November to March. In recent decades, the city of Antananarivo has not been spared from flooding, due to its geographical and climatic location. Poor disposal of waste and habitual dumping contributes to poor drainage, therefore, contributing further to flooding because of blocked drainage systems. The resulting floods are fatal to the people of Antananarivo. Wastewater rises to the surface and floods the premises in the city, also consequently affecting the air, polluting water in turn impacting the overall health of the people.

According to a report by SMA, a few things need to be addressed to solve this problem, including the saturation of landfill capacities in Antananarivo, the need to recycle waste to reduce tonnages, and the economic and ecological relevance of composting. Pilot projects have been popularized such as the production of paving stones from plastics and the production of fuel from waste.

Law enforcement can also be one of the long-term solutions to combat waste management. The municipal code of hygiene presents sanctions against the various pollutants produced by the inhabitants of the city. According to the 2020 urban diagnostic study of Antananarivo, training and awareness programs for the populations must be put in place between 2022 and 2032 to respond to the strategic focus on healthy and efficient neighbourhoods.

The Centre Arrupe Madagascar wants to contribute to the search for solutions. In this context, the Centre has produced a short video with the aim of raising awareness and educating the population on the environment, the importance of hygiene, and above all proper waste disposal to avert blockages of drainage channels, in turn preventing flooding. This awareness video also targets businesses and organisations at the city level to adopt greener behaviours or practices.

Photo: ©EU/ECHO/Maria Olsen

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