Handlers to report volumes on Waste Information System

Municipalities and waste handlers have to appoint officers to report waste volumes to their provinces, on the DEA Waste Information System (WIS).

Gauteng and Western Cape local authorities would have to report on the DEA WIS national web facility, until these two provinces had joined the other provinces in implementing provincial web based WIS reporting facilities.

They system was initiated by the Department of Environment (DEA) some five years ago, aiming to facilitate waste policy and strategies and to ‘find markets for recovered and recycled resources’.

The idea of a waste exchange was also initiated some years ago, but was not made a function of the WIS.

Municipalities are expected to increase their roles in waste resources retrieval and recycling business.

The waste industry, however, expect local authorities to render non profitable services, like domestic collection and landfilling, and to regulate ‘cherry picking’ business operators, leaving the notoriously low profit margins of recycling to responsible operators.

A revised DEA waste management strategy will be launched in 2011. The DEA acknowledges challenges of finance, institutions, and capacity in implementing waste strategies.

The WIS was designed, and redesigned for a web hosting format, by the CSIR.

Local authorities are expected to give effect to national legislation in their own Integrated Waste Management Plans, that they are required by law to draft.

This regulation had forced municipalities and other public services to quantify and qualify their waste issues, and to draft strategies, in some cities and towns resulting merely in specialist or consultant documents being shelved.

DEA presented an information roadshow in major centres to address waste generators, collectors, handlers, treatment and disposal services around South Africa in October 2010, followed by a tour of municipalities in November 2010.

DEA legislator Obed Baloyi explained at a Midrand conference in Gauteng that all waste handlers had to register, report, verify and record their work, or face penalties.

DEA believes that enforcement of reporting on the WIS, would assist waste operators in planning, decisions, factilitation, and communication of their work.

Enviro legislation problems

Several DEA waste management regulations have been criticised for solving few waste problems, placing huge cost and administrative burdens on business and public services, and creating new problems.

Lack of enforcement capacity had dictated the format of some heavy handed waste legislation.

Plastic Bag Regulations, Waste Tyre Regulations, and Waste Information System (WIS) requirements are part of the large and growing body of waste legislation.

Among the remaining waste management problems are;

* exploitation of collectors and ‘cherry picking’ by waste middle men in steel, glass, plastics, paper, and electronic waste

* disinvestment and monopolism in hazardous and biological waste incineration facilities

* lack of policy clarity on alternative treatment and disposal technologies

* onerous haz waste handling compliance, testing and reporting regimes

* municipal waste disposal landfills and facilities not compliant to legislation and registration requirements

* provincial hospitals not compliant to bio haz and medical waste handling rules

* private contractors cutting corners on onerous haz waste handling, storage and disposal requirements

* plastic bag levy not applied to intended purposes

* tyre consumers paying for handling of waste tyres

* incinerators not paying for waste tyres

* waste tyre stockpiles not being cleared

* nuclear waste either stockpiled at source, or buried in karoo

* sewage treatment collapse

While much of DEA legislation forces local authorities and some provate operators to hire enviro legal consultants, some provinces and the DEA itself have hire some consultlants to prepare research, draft strategies, and draft legislation.

The roles of approved inspection authorities (AIAs) in environmental compliance, are becoming institutionalised.

PHOTO THUMB; DEA legislation drafter Obed Balyoi. South African environmental legislation fills a thick book, with waste management, contamination and rehabilitation forming a substantial part.

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