247 unlicensed landfills in SA

2014-10-24 12:01

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Cape Town - South Africa still has 247 unlicensed municipal landfills, seven years after government commissioned a study to identify such waste sites, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa indicated in a parliamentary reply on Friday.

Molewa said 178 of the waste disposal sites were in the process of being licensed by provinces as part of a project undertaken in 2011 to process 341 illegal sites.

"The remaining 69 unlicensed landfills are newly-identified sites to be licensed during the 2014/15 financial year," the minister added.

She said the department would launch a "national compliance and enforcement operation" in coming months, and was ready to close down illegal sites if need be.

"All the unlawful sites will be prioritised for enforcement action based on the level of non-compliances that are detected during the compliance monitoring exercise.

"The action taken may range from immediately closing down operations to implementing measures to ensure environmental protection."

According to Molewa, the country has 489 licensed municipal landfill sites.

In 2007, then environment minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk told Parliament the country had 1 321 landfill sites, of which 629 were unauthorised and 58 regarded as hazardous.

The department was not immediately available on Friday to say how many sites had been shut down.

Read more on:    edna molewa  |  environment

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