Posted on: June 13, 2011 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

Container handlers and traders may be prosecuted for selling contaminated drums or packaging for domestic use, following a new eThekwini Metro policy.

The Responsible Packaging Management Association of Southern Africa (RPMASA) and eThekwini Health are giving clean containers for drinking water to thousands of informal settlers in KwaZulu-Natal province, at an affordable price.

The Happy Drum project supports a new eThekwini Metro (Durban) Safe Drum Policy, aiming to stop the sale of used chemical and industrial drums and containers that pose serious health and pollution risks.

According to Stats SA, only 42% of households in South Africa have access to running water in their homes. The figure is only 35% of 2.6-million households in KwaZulu-Natal province. Thousands of people in Mhlatuze, Msunduze and eThekwini areas in KZN province now have distinctive pink plastic water containers, labeled ‘Water only’.

The Happy Drum project replaces old chemicals drums with affordable pink drums for water collection, transport and storage.

Many used chemicals and industrial containers are sold by informal traders to urban and rural poor householders.

The Happy Drums project is also educating the public and industry about health, safety and environmental risks of contaminated drums for domestic purposes, and setting up return schemes to reduce, re-use and recycle hazardous materials containers, removing them from domestic use.

“Death from chemicals contamination is roaming the rural parts of the world,” said Liz Anderson, President of the RPMASA. We will reach 20 000 households in the first phase of the project and hope to expand in 2012. We hope that the SA Department of Health will progress plans to roll out this project on a national basis.”

The pink water drums are made from virgin plastic material, are clearly labeled, and are cheaper and safer to use.

RPMASA is part of a network of organisations around the world that follow the life cycle of Industrial packaging. RPMASA addresses economic, legal and regulatory concerns associated with drum and container use, supports drum reconditioning, and sits on the UN Committees of Experts for Transport of dangerous goods and the GHS, national standards committees, and the SA Waste Act Steering committee.

• Visit RPMASA and Happy Drum Project at www.rpmasa.org.za

• Contact RPMASA via Liz Anderson on 032 942 8050, 082 453 5020, liz@rpmasa.org.za

PHOTO; Responsible Packaging Management Association of Southern Africa (RPMASA) president Liz Anderson selling safe water containers in KZN province.

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