The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) has identified key issues that require resolution to avoid raising public health and environmental risks, and to comply with the new SA Waste Act, 59 of 2008, and new SA National Waste Management Strategy standards for waste collection published for comment.
IWMSA president Stan Jewaskiewitz said that “relevant waste management facilities will have to be licensed and must appoint waste management officers with responsibilities in terms of legislation. The plan is an industry initiative, and does not have SADC sanction yet.
“The new standards include more stringent requirements for landfills, reducing and limiting volume of waste to landfill, especially hazardous industrial liquid waste.
“Many landfill sites are not yet licensed, and of those that are, some are poorly run or managed, causing detrimental impact on the environment and local communities.”
The SA government recognises that local government lacks waste capacity and expertise. A programme of waste training and financing of capacity building had started.
IWMSA offers municipal domestic waste training workshops and accredited basic Waste Management training courses, with environmental management modules.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) hosts an annual waste forum to inform and skill local authorities. “Some municipal authorities do not have any waste plans, processes of budgets to implement required systems”, said IWMSA, whose members include some municipalities.
Industrial, commercial and health care (medical) waste is handled mostly by private services, some of which are certified to ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 standards, by SABS and other third party bodies.
However, some private suppliers have been found to dump some waste illegally, due in part to high cost and low capacity of incineration and specialised haz waste disposal sites, as reported on SHEQafrica last year.
“Waste disposal suppliers are testing waste recycling and waste treatment systems, and are gearing up in anticipation of the implementation of the new standards,” IWMSA said.
Private waste collectors could boost recycling
Private waste services are calling on metros and municipalities to privatise waste collection and waste separation, to enable more recovery, reuse and recycling of glass, plastics, cans, paper and other resources.
Alleged poor waste management service delivery by municipalities, “going from bad to worse”, led to an initiative by some members of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) at a national workshop in the Western Cape in October 2011.
“Government is making slow inroads regarding implementation of the new Waste Act, but not enough is being done. Municipalities continue to struggle with service delivery due to lack of qualified and experienced staff to fulfil various roles in waste management.”
Municipalities are said to “lack adequate funds to carry out these services” and private providers propose to contract out various services to contractors over three to five years.
“Another option is concession, with private sector companies being granted long term concessions to implement and operate waste management systems. Waste management finance and services could also be provided through a public private partnership (PPP).
“Government and municipalities should be role models, provide an enabling environment for waste problems to be fixed, and allow the private sector to participate.”
IWMSA said it “embraces and supports any actions that would lead to waste minimisation and effective management of waste in order to protect our environment”.
PHOTO; Municipal waste collection services run mostly ‘one stream’ collection routes to landfill, wasting recoverable and recyclable resources like glass, plastics, steel cans and paper. Informal and illegal trade continues between landfill separators, middle men and recyclers.