AfriForum today publicised its annual landfill site audit report after the organisation this year audited landfill sites in the towns where AfriForum branches have been established. This report will also be submitted to the Green Scorpions for further investigation.
In terms of applicable legislation and regulations, among which the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008), a landfill site must comply with definite requirements. AfriForum adapted these requirements from the minimum standards with which a landfill site must comply into 33 questions that were used to complete the landfill site audit.
According to Jaco Grobbelaar, AfriForum’s Project Coordinator for Environmental Affairs, the findings in the report indicate that only 22% (28 from 127) of the landfill sites are complying with the minimum requirements as set out in the aforementioned legislation. “The low percentage can be attributed to a number of problems experienced by municipalities that lead to the poor and illegal management of landfill sites. Misappropriation, poor maintenance and the lack of willpower to solve the problem are only a few of the problems we experience daily. The number of landfill sites that complied with the minimum requirements and received more than 80% for the audit have however decreased from 2018.”
Grobbelaar lists the following issues of concern that were experienced at various landfill sites:
- No access control or notices on the gate indicating what type of waste can be dumped there.
- No fence around the landfill site.
- Infrastructure such as weighbridges are missing, while machinery are also out of order.
- Illegal medical waste are being dumped at the sites, that can contaminate groundwater.
- Families with children are living on some of the sites.
- The waste monitoring committee of the municipality that the community forms part of is absent in many towns.
- Animals graze on landfill sites and eat some of the waste.
- Poor rehabilitation and compaction are taking place on the sites, which cause the waste to be blown all over and subsequently pollute surrounding environments.
“With this year’s audit we noticed the positive difference brought about by the implementation of a waste monitoring committee at a municipality. The Libanon landfill site in Westonaria, which last year received a shameful 9% for the landfill site audit, improved within six months to a top-class landfill site (100% in 2019). Therefore we are encouraging communities as well as municipalities to establish waste monitoring committees to allow other role-players to also have a say in the management process of landfill sites.”
Communities can follow these steps to bring about a sustainable improvement at a landfill site:
- Communities must place pressure on municipalities to establish waste monitoring committees.
- A meeting must be held once a month during which the state of the landfill site is discussed and goals with feasible deadlines are set.
- Build good relationships with the municipalities and concerned role-players.
- Insist on the appointment of a trusted service provider that is suitable for the work.
- Apply sustainable pressure via the waste monitoring committee to make sure that the deadlines that were set are in fact reached.
Grobbelaar furthermore says that alternative solutions are available to municipalities to better manage waste and to even make a bigger contribution to communities. “Waste-to-energy is a concept that is not being applied at all in the manner municipalities are currently managing our waste. The concept includes the process where waste is being used to generate power with different processes (combustion or gasification), which contributes to job creation, power supply and the upliftment of communities.”
Grobbelaar is of the opinion that municipalities must start to consider these types of solutions to get South Africa’s waste management up to standard. “AfriForum would like to help with the implementation of solutions and is also encouraging municipalities to contact the organisation. It is the responsibility of each and everyone one of us to ensure that our environment is not polluted and that is why we would also like to contribute to a cleaner South Africa.”
This is how the landfill sites performed per province in respect of the minimum requirements:
|Province||Number of landfill sites that were audited||Number of landfill sites that comply with more than 80% of the minimum requirements||Number of landfill sites that don’t comply with the minimum requirements|
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