Waste-management issues need to be addressed

Pikitup is looking for solutions to the mounting waste crisis. Photo: www.joburg.org.za

“Sustainable, integrated waste management is one of the most important services a city can offer to its residents,” said councillor Nico de Jager, the Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Environment and Infrastructure Services.

The City of Johannesburg (CoJ) has been warned that it needs to find an effective solution to the waste-management issue, sooner rather than later.

The City’s waste-management entity – Pikitup – organised a Waste Treatment Technology dialogue at the University of Johannesburg in an attempt to find proactive solutions to the mounting waste-management crisis the city is facing.

The dialogue was attended by the Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Environment Infrastructure and Services, councillor Nico de Jager, Bhekisisa Shongwe (chairman of the Pikitup Board of Directors) as well as Lungile Dhlamini (Pikitup managing director).

Pikitup collects approximately 6 000 tonnes of waste daily, which accumulates to more than 1,6 million tonnes a year. Landfill space is decreasing, which may cause the city to run out of landfill space in a few years’ time.

“In an effort to collectively safeguard the environment, the City has developed an Integrated Waste Management Policy and Plan, which aims to divert more than 30 per cent of waste from landfill disposal by 2021,” De Jager said

Various waste-management experts attended the event and shared their solutions to the waste problem that will not only generate alternative energy but also create jobs.

Sipho Dube from Landfill Consult agreed that separation-at-source was critical in waste management. “My company has organic waste and material removing facilities where organic compost is produced. We have to change our attitudes as it can’t be business as usual,” he said.

“The Executive Mayor of the CoJ, councillor Herman Mashaba continually encourages everyone to search for cleaner waste-based energy-producing technologies that will help strengthen the City’s commitment to recycling, as well as intensifying the Separation-at-Source programme,” De Jager said.

He added that the CoJ has received the results of two feasibility studies on waste-treatment technologies, which include:

– The need for treatment technology for the city’s residual, non-recyclable, non-biodegradable municipal waste that will turn it into energy

– The 50 tonnes bio-degradable waste-digester pilot programme, which is to be up-scaled to treat all the city’s bio-degradable waste

“Looking at this, it will be a solution to the electricity overload issue in the informal settlements. The settlement will not only have power supply, it will create jobs as well,” he concluded.

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Adéle Bloem

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