DATE :07 June 2012
Until 1997 waste management was not a priority concern in South Africa. This resulted in waste impacting detrimentally on the South African environment and on human health.
The National Environment Management Waste Act (NEMWA) which was finalised2009,included some exciting provisions such as the promotion of waste minimization by re-use, recycling and recovery. It focused on implementing a waste management hierarchy, with the ultimate aim of diverting waste from landfills. The Act also emphasised the social and economic impact of waste management, and seeks to involve communities in the new approach to waste management.
In Knysna where landfill space is a scare commodity, the municipality makes use of the PetroSA waste disposal facility in Mossel Bay. Every ton of waste diverted from landfill is a direct saving of between R150 to R200 per ton.
The benefits of waste minimisation include job creation, reduction of pollution and the conservation of natural resources and energy, as well as reduction of costs in manufacturing sectors and reduction of the waste stream itself.
In the last month a waste minimisation road show was launched by the Eden Integrated Waste Management District Forum in Mossel Bay, further public events to place in Knysna, Oudtshoorn and George organised by the respective local municipalities to further raise awareness with regards to waste minimisation in the area.
As the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, we encourage and commend all proactive approaches to address waste management challenges by community members and municipalities.