Municipal service delivery in terms of domestic household waste collection and disposal currently varies from very poor to good in South African cities and towns. The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) has identified a few key issues which require resolution over the next five years so that significant progress can be achieved within this critical field.
With the New Waste Act (Act 59 of 2008) now in place, as well as a new National Waste Management Strategy, new standards for waste collection have been gazetted for comment, aiming to provide the necessary levels of service delivery required for all citizens.
IWMSA President, Stan Jewaskiewitz says, “In terms of the new Waste Act, all relevant waste management facilities will need to be licensed and must appoint waste management officers who will have significant legal responsibilities with regard to compliance.”
New and improved standards
“These new and improved standards include providing more stringent requirements for landfills, whilst simultaneously reducing and limiting the amount of waste that arrives at landfill, especially hazardous industrial liquid wastes. Many landfill sites are not presently licensed and of those that are, some are poorly run or managed, causing a detrimental impact on the environment and local communities.”
“Government recognises that at local government level, there is a significant lack of capacity and expertise. To this end they have initiated a number of interventions such as training and assisting with the financing of various initiatives; all of which entails investing funds into training and capacity building.”
Jewaskiewitz continues, “We, at the IWMSA are proud of our involvement in municipal training workshops and are delighted to now offer accredited basic Waste Management training courses.
Municipalities lacking skills and management experience
“The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has been running an annual Waste Khoro for the past two years, aimed at informing and up-skilling municipalities to meet the requirements of the new legislation. However, many municipalities do not have the necessary skills, capacity or management experience to run effective waste collection and disposal systems. They also do not have any planning processes in place and as a result do not have sufficient financial budgets to implement such systems. Industrial and commercial wastes are therefore generally handled by private sector waste companies whose service, whilst not excellent, is adequate in respect of both general and hazardous wastes.
“Companies in this sector have already begun a process of looking into and implementing waste recycling and waste treatment systems especially for industry, and are gearing up in anticipation of the implementation of the new standards,” Jewaskiewitz concluded.
IWMSA provides education
The IWMSA focuses on providing education and training for its members, as well as other interested parties, whether private individuals or government entities.
The IWMSA is a non-profit organisation comprising a body of dedicated professionals in their respective fields, who give freely and voluntarily of their time and expertise in order to effectively educate, promote and further the science and practice of waste management.