Recycling initiatives create jobs


It starts with throwing a plastic bottle out of a moving taxi but it ends up affecting the quality of food on your plate and the water you drink.

From the street vendor cooking food in the taxi rank next to piles of litter to blocked stormwater drains that pollute our water sources, lack of waste management ultimately affects us all.

And it does more than just make our taxi rank untidy and smell foul. Uncollected waste lying around and rotting poses a health risk. All the plastic not recycled ends up in the rivers and oceans, with potentially catastrophic effects on the environment.

According to the government, SA produces 140-million tons of waste a year and most of it ends up on landfill sites that are already overflowing. Yet with the country's unemployment rising 27.2 % last year, recycling has been identified as having enormous economic potential to create jobs.

In fact, the government estimates that the waste produced in SA could yield R25-billion a year and create thousands of jobs.

Take the story of Godfrey Motshwane from GaRankuwa, for instance, whom we report about today. He picks up waste as a way of providing for his family.

Motshwane makes about R120 a day from collecting waste.

"I sell about four times a day to EcoCare Waste Management. I collect plastic and cardboard," he said. Motshwane said it also helps to keep his township clean.

At the weekend, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the Good Green Deeds programme in East London to encourage South Africans to clean their environment.

The initiative is modelled on Rwanda's successful campaign that has earned the country's capital, Kigali, the title of the cleanest city in Africa - both in terms of lack of rubbish on the streets and green initiatives.

The Kigali model is lauded around the world and has received high praise from our own finance minster Tito Mboweni and Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba, who dispatched a team of Johannesburg employees on a study tour recently.

Clean-up and recycling efforts can unlock employment opportunities and drive this country's economic growth.

We urge all South Africans to support these initiatives.