Air and solid waste pollution are growing problems in Mozambique. Pollution and contamination of natural habitats or species in Mozambique are still largely unknown, although four types of pollution are formally recognized: (i) atmospheric; (ii) edaphic; (iii) aquatic; and (iv) marine  .
According to available data, the air quality in Mozambique is considered moderately unsafe - the most recent data indicates that the country's annual mean concentration of PM2.5 is 21 µg/m3 is exceeding the recommended maximum of 10 µg/m3, indicated by the World Health Organization's guidelines . In 2016 the mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution in Mozambique was equal to 110 per 100,000 population .
Currently, Mozambique is also facing increasing challenge of municipal solid waste management. In many municipalities, the cost for the collection and treatment of waste is putting increasing pressure on the municipal budget and the continued practice of uncontrolled dumpsites is posing significant health threats to urban populations . Currently, all solid household waste collected is deposited in official or unofficial dump sites without proper (if any) treatment or segregation, a situation which leads to a constant need to create new landfills, especially in urban areas .
The 1.2 million inhabitants of the city of Maputo produce about 1,100 metric tonnes of solid waste per day, while, on average, people in the formal city produce 1 kilogram of solid waste per person/day, while people in the informal settlements produce 0.49 kilograms per person .
Due to situation of poverty in the country, the use of fertilizers and other chemical products such as, for example, pesticides, is low, and therefore it can be deduced that water pollution is not significant. However, there is a potential for fertilizers and pesticides that can drain into watercourses and wetlands, damaging fish, amphibians, insects, crustaceans and other species (AUSAID, 2012) . In fact, in the coastal areas, untreated sewage and sediments that result from agriculture and construction contaminate aquatic ecosystems, causing pollution and destruction of corals (Muthiga et al., 2008; AUSAID, 2012) .
According to Costa and Soto (2012), the estimates of the costs of water and air pollution represent about 260 million USD per year (or 70% of the total cost of pollution in Mozambique), representing a strong impact on depreciation of human capital in the country, in addition to the direct implications for biological diversity .
The main sources of air pollution in Mozambique are the industrial (manufacturing, services), transport, power generation (corporate utilities, households), agriculture and waste sectors (Cumbane, 2011) . Moreover, the poor management of solid waste and wastewater can be other major n causes of pollution .
At the same time, contributors to poor air quality include the aluminum, petroleum, textiles, and cement industries, food processing, vehicle emissions, and waste burning. Available data indicates that Maputo is a city with consistently high levels of air pollution .
Key policies and governance approach
The Constitution of the Republic of Mozambique 2004 (rev. 2007) enshrined within the scope of economic, social and cultural rights and duties the right of all citizens to live in a balanced environment and the duty to defend it. In general, any act of pollution is prohibited in Mozambique unless it occurred within the legally established limits  .
At the national level, the Environmental Framework Law, which lays down general provisions for the protection of the environment including the marine environment. This law empowers the Government to issue all necessary regulations to control and prevent all types of pollution, including regulations to protect the marine environment. It establishes a generic prohibition on the production, deposit, or release into the water or atmosphere of any toxic or polluting substance, outside the legal limits established by the government .
Furthermore, the Regulation on Management of Urban (household) Solid Waste can be considered the primary tool to address solid waste in general. The regulation requires any public or private entity engaged in activities related to urban solid waste management to develop and submit an Integrated Urban Solid Waste Management Plan for approval by the district or municipality authorities. The regulation also requires local and municipal authorities to promote public awareness campaigns on the importance of adequate urban waste management, focusing on the production, prevention and control of pollution and the benefits of reuse and recycling .
Another important regulation, dating 2006, is the Regulation of the Coastal and Marine Pollution (Decree 45/2006). This decree demand full compensation for all forms of pollution caused by ships and platforms .
The relevant institutions governing pollution issues in Mozambique are the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development – which mandate and role is of implementing measures to prevent degradation and control the quality of the environment, as well as in promoting sound management of effluents and solid waste; the Ministry of Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries and the Ministry of Industry and Trade .
Successes and remaining challenges
Current environmental legislation does not provide for instruments to promote the recycling and reuse of plastic waste, nor does it refer to the participation of separate collection and recycling organizations in the integrated solid waste management system as a way of addressing poverty and problems caused by solid waste. Nor does it provide for special funding for Municipalities or Districts that develop projects or programs for separate collection and recycling . In addition, at the institutional level there is a lack of clarity on the role to be played by all governmental institutions with responsibilities in the field of plastic waste management .
However, the research in the area of pollution and its impacts on biodiversity are still very scarce in Mozambique and are localized, not allowing to generalize for the whole country. Studies of the impacts of pollution on biodiversity must be expanded significantly to assess the impacts of pollution on biodiversity in the country .
Initiatives and Development Plans
Mozambique is developing the National Strategy for Integrated Urban Solid Waste Management in Mozambique 2013-2025, which “Innovative, Clean, Resilient And Participatory Cities In Mozambique” Project is part of. Its main objective is to increase solid waste collection in the cities of Nampula and Beira by 20%, particularly in disadvantaged, hard-to-reach areas, in order to reduce the negative environmental impact of cities and support sustainable urbanisation. To achieve this objective, it will strengthen the municipalities' intervention and waste management capacities in a sustainable manner, promote the involvement of civil society and establish an inter-municipal network, including Maputo, to exchange and collect good practices and encourage a geographical and thematic expansion of the platform .
Moreover, the NAMA Support Project (NSP) will support the government of Mozambique in addressing the challenges associated with urban waste management through the implementation of a comprehensive and ambitious Programme for Sustainable Waste Management (ProSWM), which envisions a complete transformation of the waste sector in Mozambique, with the final aim of building a circular economy. With the help of the NSP and other partners, ProSWM will further elaborate and enhance the legal and regulatory framework for waste management with posing particular emphasis on the implementation of the existing Regulation on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR Regulation). Dedicated financial support mechanisms will also be established, with the aim to promote investments in sustainable waste management practices and infrastructure for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, as well as for medium- and large-scale waste treatment infrastructure projects, such as recycling facilities, material recovery facilities, energy recovery facilities or sanitary landfills with methane capturing. The NSP will also support the operationalization of the new equipment and infrastructure, and start widespread awareness raising campaigns and institutional capacity building programmes in order to promote, improve and enforce more sustainable waste management practices throughout the country . ProSWM is expected to achieve emission reductions totaling 500,000 tCO2e by the end of the NSP in 2024 and 2.8 million tCO2e by the end of 2030. Co-benefits of the transformation towards a circular economy will include cleaner living environments in cities, reduced health risks, direct and indirect job creation and the development of recycling industries .
Goals and Ambitions
According to its Updated NDC, Mozambique wants to improve its capacity of “managing and recovering waste” through :
- Promotion of sustainable waste management in Mozambique (NAMA Waste);
- Implementation of the Technological Action Plan and Project Ideas for Solid Urban Waste Management and Treatment.
- Studies of the impacts of pollution on biodiversity must be expanded significantly to assess the impacts of pollution on biodiversity in the country
- Increase the clarity at the institutional level on the role to be played by all governmental institutions with responsibilities in the field pollution and waste management
- Provide for instruments to promote the recycling and reuse of plastic waste
- Provide for special funding for Municipalities or Districts that develop projects or programs for separate collection and recycling
 Carbon Africa Limited (2014). A Comprehensive Review of the Municipal Solid Waste Sector in Mozambique: Background Documentation for the Formulation of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions in the Waste Sector in Mozambique.
 Tvedten, I. and Candiracci, S. (2018) ‘“Flooding our eyes with rubbish”: urban waste management in Maputo, Mozambique’, Environment and Urbanization, 30(2), pp. 631–646. doi: 10.1177/0956247818780090.