Pilot project swops waste for food

2008-03-11 00:00

FIFTY indigent families received grocery and vegetable parcels at the launch of the Siyazenzela waste exchange pilot project at the Jika Joe informal settlement yesterday.

The project was launched by Transport MEC Bheki Cele and Msunduzi Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo.

The project, a joint venture by the Transport Department’s Expanded Public Works programme and the municipality, is aimed at improving the cleanliness of informal settlements, while also easing poverty.

The project was inspired by a study tour made by a delegation from the Transport Department and the Msunduzi, eThekwini, Ugu and Hibiscus Coast municipalities to Bogotà, Columbia, and Curitiba, Brazil. These South American cities have similar recycling campaigns.

Hibiscus Coast launched the scheme in April last year.

Under the project, recyclable waste will be collected by residents in 23 informal settlements in exchange for food parcels.

A “green exchange” will be done, with municipal waste trucks picking up refuse at specified collection points. The waste will be weighed and collectors will get food parcel tokens in exchange for the waste.

Full bags of waste weighing between five and 10 kg will be accepted, and beneficiaries will get R30 worth of vegetables and R200 in other food bi-weekly.

Musa Zondi (26) was overjoyed when he received food parcels for his recyclable waste.

“This will go a long way to assisting my family, because I have four siblings at home and my mother is ill and no longer able to work. This also shows that the government realises our presence and is willing to help us,” he said.

“At least now the poor will know where their food will come from each week, while helping poor communities to maintain a healthy living environment,” said Cele.

thabisile@witness.co.za

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