City in need of permanent recycling solution

2017-02-24 11:18
Clarendon and Prestbury ward councillor Ross Strachan and his ward assistant Jack Mthethwa show the heaps of bags of recyclables gathered on the roadsides in the area.

Clarendon and Prestbury ward councillor Ross Strachan and his ward assistant Jack Mthethwa show the heaps of bags of recyclables gathered on the roadsides in the area. (Ian Carbut)

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Why isn’t the recycling placed on kerbsides being picked up regularly in suburbs around the city?

That’s the question The Witness has been trying to have answered to no avail.

Last month The Witnessreported that the municipality promised to pick up the recyclables until a permanent solution was found.

Residents who have been taking out their recyclables each day said, this week, they are “fed up” as the bags have been lying on the roadside for three weeks.

Bags of plastics, paper and other recyclables lay piled up outside the homes of many living in Chase Valley, Athlone, Montrose, Prestbury, Clarendon and other surrounding areas.

Wildlands, an environmental organisation based in Hilton, carried out kerbside collections for three years before the municipality took over in February 2016.

Residents said since Msunduzi municipality took over, collection has been “erratic”.

“Does the municipality even have a recycling project which is, supposedly, part of the Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan?” asked former councillor Judith Lawrence, who is a resident in the Clarendon area.

Lawrence said that during her time as an Msunduzi councillor, there were discussions around the kerbside recycling project but she questioned whether the City had an operating project now.

In the last article published in TheWitnesslast month, acting municipal spokesperson Siyabonga Hlengwa said the municipality had arranged for collection temporarily while a permanent solution was being sought.

He said the permanent solution would be communicated in “due course” and encouraged residents to put out their recyclables for collection.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha did not answer questions sent to her regarding the recycling project in the city.

Councillor Ross Strachan said the kerbside recycling initiative for the city was not being efficiently supported by the municipality.

He said recycling is an “integral and fundamental” part of residents’ lives and, environmentally, the initiative should be driven and educated to the people of the city on larger scale.

He called for immediate action from the municipality.

Lawrence said it was a pity the municipality did not make use of the ideas and offer by Pietermaritzburg man Chris Whyte who is the founder and managing director of Use-It, an NGO behind a number of innovative waste beneficiating projects.

Whyte was in the running for a prestigious award at one of the world’s most influential global platforms, the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Whyte took his expertise to Durban and the NGO made a substantial difference to Greater Durban’s waste reduction efforts, through the Use-It eThekwini Waste Materials Recovery Industry Development Cluster.

In the 2015/16 financial year, more than 11 000 tons of recyclable waste was diverted that saved almost 30 000 square metres of eThekwini Metro’s landfill space.

“It is ironic that Chris Whyte, after hitting his head against a brick wall in his home town, had to take his recycling project that was nominated for a Davos Award, to another city. So much for service delivery in the City of Choice,” Lawrence said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  recycling

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