'SA facing waste collection disaster'

THE waste generated by between 40percent and 45percent of people in South Africa is not regularly collected, a Free State conference on waste heard yesterday.

THE waste generated by between 40percent and 45percent of people in South Africa is not regularly collected, a Free State conference on waste heard yesterday.

Water and Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi, pictured, said it was estimated that 45percent of South Africans, mainly living in informal settlements and rural areas, had no access to domestic waste collection services.

"In addition the country has about 1292 waste disposal sites, of which about 442 are unauthorised and must be formally closed," Mabudafhasi said.

She said the situation had a significantly negative effect on health and the environment.

The situation also defeated the government's drive to build healthy and safe communities where citizens could live a dignified and normal life.

Lulama Ceba of the South African Local Government Association's Free State branch told the conference that there was a tendency at municipalities "to give" the waste management function to environmental health officers.

"The result is that it does not receive the priority it should and is deregulated to a secondary function."

She said in the Free State municipalities were running out of land for new landfills. Those that were available were not well coordinated and many did not comply with regulations.

It was estimated that some 60 waste facilities in the province did not comply with permit conditions.

Ceba said at many sites there were no records of incoming waste and therefore no certainty of the level of waste generated per area.

"This has a huge implication for waste management planning."

She said though most Free State municipalities had developed integrated waste management plans, these were not made long-term strategies. -

Sapa

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