Cash for waste to tackle filth

2014-07-23 00:00

THE new National Waste Management Act will see waste having serious monetary value, providing a solution to the country’s litter problem.

Mark Gordon, deputy director for chemicals and waste in the Department of Environment Affairs, said the act — in effect since June 2014 — will make it more worthwhile for people to collect rather than throw away rubbish.

According to National Environmental Minister Edna Molewa, recycling has been valued at a contribution of as much as R50 billion to the South African economy.

“In effect, waste will now be a renewable resource and not something to throw away,” Molewa said in her recent budget speech.

She added that theact provides for a pricing strategy for waste management charges, the establishment of a Waste Management Bureau, and mechanisms to oversee the disbursement of revenue collected from waste management charges.

Molewa said soon there will be a deposit-return charge on plastic bottles. “In terms of prioritising waste streams we began with plastic bags in 2002 and initiated a national waste tyre plan last year. Going forward, we will prioritise electronic waste, paper and packaging.”

The minister said her department will be consulting on the proposed development of regulations that will allow for:

• the separation of waste at source;

• the banning of plastic waste to landfill sites;

• a moratorium on new landfill sites;

• a prohibition on the burning of waste;

• a regional approach to waste management and disposal.

Molewa said there had been an improvement in the provision of waste collection services in the past five years. “This positive trend will be sustained with more households being provided with waste collection services towards achieving 80% basic waste collection services for all households,” she said.

Her sentiments were echoed by Co-operative Governance Minister Pravin Gordhan whose department is pursuing “a back-to-basics” theme for municipalities.

Gordhan, in his budget speech, said there must be basic services and maintenance such as the cutting of grass, fixing potholes, functioning robots and street lights and “consistent refuse removal must be provided by the municipality”.

Wildlands Conservation Trust CEO Andrew Venter welcomed Molewa’s announcement.

Wildlands runs a successful “waste-preneurs” project.


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