Posted on: August 9, 2011 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

Three sets of draft Waste Regulations and three waste handling standards were published for comment by SA in July 2011, aiming to give effect to the Waste Act.

Under authority of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), and the Waste Act, 59 of 2008, the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Bomo Edith Edna Molewa, published Draft National Standards and Regulations that could soon update regulation of use of waste landfill sites and minimisation of motor vehicle scrap waste.

The Draft Waste Classification and Management Regulations are controversial for its link to enforcing an elaborate and expensive waste handling classification and reporting system on waste handlers.

Some national, provincial and local authorities have tried to develop and test a waste reporting system, initially formulated for the state by the CSIR, for several years.

However, general Lack of compliance to other related waste regulation by landfills fun by local authorities, and the general municipal ‘one stream’ collection and disposal system used for general waste, and for most industrial waste, have failed to live up to ideals stated in the Waste Act.

The South African Waste Information Centre aims to “provide the public, business, industry and government with access to information on management of waste in South Africa” via access to the South African Waste Information System (SA WIS), developed by DEA in 2005.

The SA WIS would “capture routine data on tonnages of waste generated, recycled and disposed of in South Africa on a monthly and annual basis. Required data providers are required to access SAWIS online.

Draft waste landfill and classification regulations in 2011 are;
• Draft National Standard for Disposal of Waste to Landfill (Government Gazette 34414, Notice 432)
• Draft Standard for Assessment of Waste for Landfill Disposal (Government Gazette 34415, Notice 433)
• Draft Waste Classification and Management Regulations (Government Gazette 34417, Notice 435)
Interested parties may comment in writing to the Minister by 15 August, since the initial deadline has been extended.

Draft waste cars, waste gas and waste storage standards in 2011 are;
• Draft National Standard for the Scrapping and Recovery of Motor Vehicles
(Government Gazette 34413, Notice 431)
• Draft National Standard for the Extraction, Flaring or Recovery of Landfill Gas in South Africa (Government Gazette 34416, Notice 434)
• Draft National Norms and Standards for the Storage of Waste (Government Gazette 34418, Notice 436)
Interested parties may comment in writing to the Minister by 1 September 2011.

Hazardous waste generators have to file plans

South African provincial governments had to develop and submit first generation hazardous waste management plans, while local governments had to develop and submit first generation plans for integrated general waste management, and prepare final integrated general waste management plans for submission.

Developers or owners of businesses and industries with on-site waste treatment facilities, have to prepare waste management plans, and submit to provinces according to a mutually agreed time schedule.

Medical waste

A health care survey by the DEAT in 2008 had found that health care risk waste in South Africa amounts to 42 200 tones per year, posing several risks to workers, patients and the public.

Medwaste treatment plants, disposal sites, and public health facility budgets, capacity and training remain generally inadequate to the task of securing health care waste safety.

Illegal dumping of health care waste remains all too common, and poses several public health and safety risks, as acknowledged by the DEA. “Although most health care facilities have established some form of waste management system, investigations have revealed that there is generally a shortage of both human and financial resources, a lack of awareness and limited training in various roles and functions required for responsible HCW management, all contributing towards a need for improved standards of HCW management”, writes the DEA on an SA WIS portal.

“The Department is drafting a HCRW policy and regulations to… provide the certainty required to allow for the development of responsible healthcare risk waste management, particularly segregation of waste at source, establishment of compliant and economically sustainable treatment facilities.

The policy and regulations are based on previous work undertaken by the Department seven years ago “as part of the NWMS Implementation Project, as well as the pilot project conducted by Gauteng provincial department DACEL and Gauteng Health department”.

These initiatives have failed to prevent significant health care waste and hazardous waste dumping scandals by some generators and contractors. Recent initiatives to fast track licensing of treatment service providers, like incinerators, have been criticised as being too little, too late.

PHOTO; SA Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, published Draft Regulations that could tighten waste minimisation and landfill use.

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