Swakopmund - The favorite holiday destination

Swakopmund - The favorite holiday destination

03 June 2019 | Tourism

There are probably few places in Namibia, which are as sought after as Swakopmund is during the holiday season. This is not something that has developed over the past year, but in fact is a steady development over many decades, with the town already inviting tourists to come and visit the coast and enjoy the fresh air as far back as in the Thirties, by placing adverts in the Allgemeine Zeitung.

Treating visitors well has become part of Swakopmund’s DNA and it very likely offers the most comprehensive range of holiday activities found in the country.

A holiday resort’s success is largely based on cleanliness and it thus seems logical that Swakopmund is committed to remaining tidy - it is in fact a visibly clean town.

Initial small beginnings of the Otto Herrigel Environmental Trust (OHET) have over time led to Swakopmund curbing the use of plastic shopping bags, by introducing a fee. Even though the legislation still has to be approved for Namibia, OHET and its helpers have been successful in convincing Swakopmund’s citizens to agree to pay a minimum of N$1.00 for all plastic bags since December 2018. According to latest reports, Swakopmund now effectively sells close to 80% less plastic bags than it did before the new - for now voluntary - arrangement was implemented.

Rent-A-Drum is currently the municipality’s biggest partner in the field of recycling. Council entered into an agreement with the company by investing in a recycling sorting plant to promote recycling and waste management. Households were issued with orange recycling wheelie bins and Rent-A-Drum collects all recyclable material free of charge from household and business premises.

The town’s citizens are committed to clean up campaigns such as Project Shine, which involves schools and churches and is sponsored by corporates such as Bannerman and FNB - this campaign is conducted every six months. In Similar manner the local Carnival Association Küska initiates a cleaning campaign once a year and further initiatives such as the Mayoral clean-up, Beach Clean-up and National Clean-up campaigns are all well supported and executed.

These initiatives are supplemented by a Green Environmental project which aims to raise awareness about recycling amongst kids who receives plastic refuge bags and gloves for operations.

Council is also open to suggestions from community groups and will assist committed persons wanting to maintain a clean and healthy environment. Council also initiated Women’s Action for Development (WAD) training groups which aim at addressing unemployment in communities, but also raises awareness against illegal dumping in the DRC suburb.

According to Lydia Mutenda, the manager for health services at the municipality, the coastal town ensures that solid waste disposal processes are in place and believes promotes a zero-tolerance attitude towards irresponsible waste dumping: “The town is regarded as the number one holiday destination of Namibia and all residents and visitors are constantly reminded to put waste where it belongs.”

As would be expected waste is removed in accordance with a scheduled cleaning program and skip-containers have been strategically placed at various open spaces for public waste disposal purposes. Three hundred skip bins have been place at so-called hot spots, where dumping is a regular occurrence - these are emptied on a weekly basis.

Kluivert Mwanangombe is the head of the waste management department, which employs two trucks to collect bulk waste in the township areas. Six further trucks ensure that waste is collected on five days of the week, serving different areas each day in line with the abovementioned schedule.

Ten persons collect rubbish throughout town in line with a ward cleaning system - the filled bags are collected and disposed of by council. The town further employs more than 40 groups of street sweepers and in addition to that, a four-member team has been employed by council to clean beach areas specifically.

The removal of rubble such as building material remains the biggest challenge. Dumping in the CBD area is rare, but incidents of building rubble being disposed of during the night and over weekends by small-scale contractors, do happen from time to time. Efforts to control illegal dumping however gained momentum with the introduction of ward cleaners who also educate community members on maintaining a clean and healthy environment.

The landfill site has been contracted out to Enivro Fill for the past 10 years. Persons, who earn a living by collecting building material such as pavers for reuse, are provided with protective clothing. No burning of material is allowed within the site itself. Scrap yards for used iron and reclaimable material are also in operation.

The existing oil dumping site is currently being rehabilitated and another site near the NamPower facility on the outskirts of town has been identified for development of a new waste disposal site.

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