SA to have new waste management plan

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File: Residents of the Ngaka Modiri Molema district municipality have asked Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa (pictured) for help in resolving a protest in Mokgola village near Zeerust, North West.

PRETORIA – South Africa will soon have a Paper and Packaging Industry Plan, which will bring significant change in the current waste management regime, according to Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

“Through this plan we hope that we can commence with separation at source from household levels,” she said during the official launch of the Ekurhuleni Clean City Programme on Saturday.

“This will not only minimise the amount of waste going to landfills but will also unlock the economic potential of this waste stream.”

The plan would follow the Waste Tyre Management Plan which had seen 31 percent of waste tyres being diverted from landfill for re-use, recycling, and recovery purposes.

About 3,000 jobs and 200 small, medium, and micro enterprises and co-operatives had been established through implementation of the waste tyre management plan.

The waste information baseline study the department conducted in 2011, revealed that about 108 million tons of waste were generated, of which 97 million tons were disposed to landfill.

Only 10 percent of generated waste in South Africa was recycled in 2011.

Molewa urged all spheres of government and citizens to adhere to the prescripts of relevant legislation, particularly the National Environmental Management Waste Act (Nemwa).

To fast-track effective implementation of the Nemwa, the department had developed the National Waste Management Strategy, which promoted waste minimisation, re-use, recycling, and recovery of waste.

In accordance with this strategy, at least 77 percent of recyclable waste would be diverted from landfill sites by 2019.

“The implementation of an industry plan for the paper and packaging waste stream will put value to this waste stream and facilitate the establishment and operation of businesses within this sector. In doing so we hope we will in future not see all this waste in our streets as it will move from being ‘waste’ to being a ‘resource’,” Molewa said.

“As such, government and [the] waste industry are exploring the notion of [a] recycling economy, which is an exciting approach that will not only eliminate threats to environmental quality and its integrity, but also positively contribute to the growth and development of South Africa’s economy,” she said.