Landfill site to get recycling facility

2012-09-11 00:00

THE construction of a materials recycling facility (MRF) at the New England Road landfill site in Pietermaritzburg is expected to begin in January.

The municipal functions manager of uMgungundlovu District Municipality, Riaz Jogiat, announced this at a meeting yesterday of the South African Waste Pickers’ Association (Sawpa) and groundWorks, an organisation that campaigns for environmental justice.

Jogiat said there had been delays with the New England facility because the municipality needed to ensure that there would be recyclable supplies once it was finished. A tender has been advertised and a construction company identified to put up the R20 million structure, but the tender has not yet been awarded.

“The problem is that various organisations are removing recyclables before they even get to the landfill. We said we’ll delay building until an agreement of what is going to happen with the recyclable materials is reached. There needs to be clarity on who’s going to be getting the recyclables.”

Jogiat said the municipality would sign an agreement with Msunduzi before it awarded the tender. One of the clauses specifies that the landfill gets the recyclables. The municipality also plans to issue licences for the supply of recyclable material. “Without regulation, there is little chance of maintaining and growing business for co-operatives.”

Jogiat said MRFs helped to reduce pollution and create jobs, and MRF would maintain 100 jobs. The MRFs are co-owned by waste picker co-operatives.

Jogiat said the R650 000 Mooi River MRF would be finished by the end of the month.

Sawpa spokesperson Simon Mbata said safety measures should be taken into consideration and waste pickers needed the support of local municipalities. A teenage waste picker, Nqobile Maphumulo, died last month at the landfill site after she was struck by a waste truck.

A waste picker of seven years, Mpumelelo Kheswa, welcomed the news of the New England landfill MRF. “At least we’ll now work in a safe environment and we’ll be protected,” Kheswa said.

Jogiat said the current recycling rate in the district was 22 000 tons, half of which was collected by waste pickers.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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