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Used oil data lacking in Botswana

Tshole Trust’s new Executive Coordinator, Stephen Mopalo has a long way to go in achieving the trust’s “no oil to the ground” mission.

According to him, chances are that most of the oil coming into the country is not being recovered for recycling.

From June 2014 to June this year , 2 773 739 54 litres of used oil was collected at various points of used oil collection, however, 14 559 784 litres of oil came into the country during the same time.

According to Mopalo, anything could have happened to the oil that has not been collected. “We don’t know, some of the oil could have been drained to the ground by mechanics, some may have been bought and imported elsewhere to countries like Zimbabwe.

The other problem is under reporting by collectors, it’s possible that the number of collected oil is higher but the collectors who sell in South Africa could have under- reported the figures,” Mopalo told the Weekend Post.

Currently, the Trust has placed 23 000l capacity collection tanks in Serowe, Maun and Ghanzi, and a 10 000-capacity tank in Kasane.

At the sidelines of the Trust’s special general meeting, Mopalo said that the organisation was working towards bringing all stakeholders together to work as a unit in recording data for used oil. So far the Trust is in talks with Statistics Botswana to establish partnerships for environmental data collection, storage and sharing systems with all stakeholders in the used oil industry.

Kwashirai Chigodora, from the Environmental Statistics Unit, concedes that there is a much ground to cover before achieving such. He says that the waste oil management firstly requires a situational analysis and that key players in the industry will be instrumental in helping developing a database for used oil collection. Chigodora said that for this to be achieved, fact finding on the oil flow in the country would have to be carried out.

According to him, key areas at which measurements can be taken would have to be identified. This would include entry points (borders), points of use, depots, collection points, and exit points and points of recycling.

Furthermore, stakeholders would have to establish indicators that would be mutually agreed, as recommended by the United Nations Framework for the Development of Environmental Statistics (FDES), System of Environmental Economics and Accounting (SEEA), and the International Recommendations for Water Statistics (IRWS).

“The time frame on when the database would be completed will depend on how long the situation analysis will take,” he said.

The database, says Chigodora, will be digital and at SB.  

Be that as it may, there is still a mountain to climb. Piracy in the oil collection industry is rife, something to which affiliates of Tshole Trust testify. “The pirates have gone as far as using our identities to collect the oil,” said one member whose name has been withheld. According to her, the company she works for has had to deal with instances when they had to collect oil from various sources but came back empty handed as someone had already done so, using their company name.

“What we usually do is report to the Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control, they are the ones who can fine them if they are located,” she said.

Mopalo said there have been numerous cases that his organisation has been made aware of regarding the pirating activity, “It is a huge problem that needs to be addressed, the oil that is being collected is in turn sold in South Africa, a lot of pirating companies have since mushroomed and it makes our work even harder.”

While he maintained that they had contacted major users of oil, like CTOs, mines and major garages to inform them to cross check with his office whenever anyone attempts to collect from them, he indicated that the greatest worry is how any of the collectors handle the oil during collection.

Furthermore, the thorn on his side is inadequate tank monitoring and maintenance. Mopalo says that though all tanks, except for one in Serowe are operational, site visits to all revealed rather an unpleasing site. He revealed that though people do dispose of their used oil at the tanks, there were oil spills around the tanks, indicating that there was need for the tanks to be manned. The Serowe tank, he shared, isn’t in use as authorities in that district have failed to connect it to electricity since it was handed to them.

This notwithstanding, he believes there is potential for scaling up recovery of used oil and ultimately prevention of environmental pollution and associated effects on human health.

“If we all cooperate in recording collected used oil we could help the trust drive towards determining the quality of the environment and level of compliance by oil marketers and users,” he said.

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200,000 Members of International Church Hold Virtual Prayer Service for Covid-19

22nd September 2020

After its initial outbreak with a cluster of pneumonia cases at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in Wuhan City, China, Covid-19 has spread rapidly across the globe. The virus has hammered economies worldwide and brought devastation to many.

On 16 September Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a church with thousands of members in various countries, held a global online prayer service to pray for the victims of the coronavirus and their families, healthcare workers, government officials and for the complete eradication of and cure for Covid-19.

The virtual prayer service was live-streamed to the entire congregation with more than 200,000 members in countries all over the world participating, including the USA, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

In keeping with social distancing, health protocols and protecting its members from possible exposure to the coronavirus, Shincheonji arranged the virtual gathering for members to pray together in safety and set an example for others.

Prayers were mainly for the healing of those infected with the virus, for overworked healthcare workers who are struggling to fight Covid-19, and for people in economic distress in the wake of the pandemic. The overwhelming online participation from its members worldwide showed the desire and urgency to end this virus and for healing and restoration in communities.

The Chairman of Shincheonji Church Mr Manhee Lee suggested this online virtual gathering and said that all believers will continue to pray at the church’s worship services until the complete eradication of the coronavirus.

At least 1,700 of the church’s South Korean-based congregation have donated their blood plasma for research around an effective treatment. Convalescent plasma has also showed promise as therapy for Covid-19 and is believed to have reduced the severity of symptoms in critical patients.

“In order to defeat Covid-19, we need to embrace, love, and unite,” as global citizens, the church said. “We wanted to do all we can as believers by praying for the people working to prevent the spread of the virus and healthcare workers who are working at the frontlines of this battle against Covid-19 and we believe that God will answer our earnest prayers.”

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AFRIMMA nominates Vee Mampeezy

22nd September 2020

The annual prestigious music awards, African Muzik Magazine Awards and Music Festival (AFRIMMA), has resumed this year. But this time around with a virtual version of it.

The awards that celebrate the originality of African music has unveiled their seventh edition. The awards seek to promote the African talent by bringing together on the same stage African legendary artists to celebrate African culture.

The event was established by the International Committee of AFRIMMA, in collaboration with African Union to reward and celebrate musical works, talents and creativity around the African continent while promoting the African cultural heritage amongst African countries.

However after the Covid-19 global pandemic, the event will not be hosted on a live global stage, but it will be hosted virtually and nominees are expected to deliver their performances virtually. The AFRIMMA Virtual Awards 2020 is set to be the first of its kind in the African music world with performances coming from different artists around the world and audience catching the performances, speeches and award presentations on multiple streaming devices.

Amongst the many who are nominated by the AFRIMMAs is local sensation Vee Mampeezy who has been nominated in the category for Best Male Southern African alongside music giants, Black Coffee- South Africa, Slap Dee – Zambia, Cassper Nyovest- South Africa, Master KG- South Africa, Jah Prayzah – Zimbabwe, Vee Mampeezy – Botswana, Shyn – Madagascar, Tshego- South Africa, Tha Dogg – Namibia and Yanga Chief – South Africa.

Mampeezy has established with WeekendLife that prior to that, he had received an email from AFRIMMA confirming his nomination. They wished for him to perform which he said he will confirm the performance first with his manager, but as for now he is not sure if he will be performing.

“We have accepted the nomination. It is such an honour to be nominated alongside music giants like Black Coffee. I am very excited, others I am not as excited to be nominated alongside them because I have been nominated before with them. I do not mean to say they are not great, they are great in their respective right,” he said.

“We should be excited as a country that Botswana has been nominated as well. Before anything else, the fact that we are there as nominees makes us winners. It is such an honour to be recognised more so that Botswana is a small country with a very small population.”

Famous and most decorated artists the likes of Diamond Platnumz, Mr Flavour, Harmonize, Davido and Jah Prayzah are also amongst the nominees. However, South African based artist affectionately known as Master KG has been nominated six times for Video of the year, Best Male Southern Africa, Artist of the year, Best Collaboration as well as song of the year.

Master KG’s song ‘Jerusalem’ has been making waves internationally, and it was used mostly during the pandemic to shake off the Covid-19 anxiety. The song was nominated after South African Music Awards (SAMA) failed to nominate the young talented artist.

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Miss Earth Botswana catwalks to save the environment

22nd September 2020

Miss Earth Botswana is an annual local environmental-themed beauty pageant competition promoting environmental awarenessconservation and social responsibility. The reigning Queen dedicated her year to promoting specific projects and often addressing issues concerning the environment.

The Queen does this through school tours, tree planting activities, street campaigns, coastal clean ups, speaking engagements, shopping mall tours, media guesting, environmental fairs, storytelling programs to children, eco-fashion shows, and other environmental activities.

Even though this auspicious year has been faulted by the COVID-19 crisis, Miss Earth Botswana 2020 Seneo Perry has seen this as a chance to fix her crown, and get dirty in conserving the environment. This is highly impressive as it expresses how dedicated she is not only in wearing the crown, but putting in some work to create a better greener world.

Perry is a Botswana based environmentalist, equipped with a degree in Entrepreneurial Business Leadership from Sheffield Hallam University (BAC) and a top 5 finalist in Miss Earth Botswana 2019. As an eco-warrior at heart, she has dedicated her time and energy towards educating and empowering the next generation on the importance of preservation and careful management of the environment and natural resources (a clean and safe environment.)

Miss Earth Botswana will be hosting SOS Children for a film documentary dubbed “Into the Okavango” on Saturday 19th September, in Tlokweng. This initiative is influenced by National Vision 2036 Pillar of National Values which is our identity, our unique natural and cultural resources, tolerance of diversity as well as national values constitute a value preposition that makes Botswana a place to live, work and do business.

In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife, Perry’s Manager, Shimah Keakopa, said the purpose of this event is to encourage the children to open up their minds a bit more to think outside the box as they are about to choose their career paths and what more they can offer to their country as upcoming young leaders.

“This event is held under the theme ‘‘Botswana will have healthy ecosystems that support the economy, livelihoods and our cultural heritage as well as enhance resilience to climate change’’. We strive to help young children grow up knowing their purpose in life and what they actually do in achieving their ambitions.”

For her part, the queen said since 2013, conservation topics have always attracted her interests towards achieving a clean and safe environment for the benefit of humanity. She said “Botswana relies heavily on the tourism industry as it contributes 7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Our tourism industry has been characterized as more of a fauna and flora type, which is the great attraction to local and international tourists.”

“Therefore it is imperative that we conserve and continuously engage in environmental issues, to preserve our untouchable pristine wilderness. Furthermore people who live closest to natural resources generally absorb the greatest cost associated with conservation,” she said.

Perry told WeekendLife that a lot still needs to be done to ensure everybody is of one mind in an effort dedicated towards environmental conservation, which not only benefits the flora and fauna but the economy as well through activities such as agriculture and tourism.

“In Botswana, there still not enough policies (some outdated) and public awareness towards environmental conservation, especially the collective effort that should exist between government, private sector and Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

Whereas members of the general public do not have adequate access to the information on the importance of environmental conservation and this results in them being unaware of the best practices and standards in environmental conservation,” she said.

When she is not impressing at beauty pageants, Perry is a Managing Director of “Restoring the Prime Colour of the Earth” a charitable organization established in 2019 with the objective to educate both young and old people the importance of keeping a clean and safe environment and to restore the breath-taking landmarks in Botswana.

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