The City of Tshwane held a stakeholder conference on its planned Integrated Waste Management Plan (IWMP) at the Es'kia Mphahlele Library Hall.
Practitioners in waste management from national, provincial and local spheres of government, NGO's, business and co-operatives came together to unpack and debate the plan and devise productive measures for the City and its residents.
Waste management presents an economic and financial opportunity for the City.
The City aims to embark on a waste-to-energy project that will provide a sustainable solution to reducing waste-to-landfill. Although the main aim is to reduce the amount of waste so that the city saves on landfill space, renewable energy produced by this process can be converted into electricity, fuel or gas.
The new plan seeks to introduce a new way of handling waste in Tshwane, which is a paradigm shift from current practices. It comes amid challenges which the city faces, such as existing landfill sites which are rapidly reaching their operational capacity, and financial and environmental challenges in establishing new landfill sites.
In December 2013 and January 2014, the number of operational landfill sites in the city was reduced from eight to five when the City was forced to close three sites – Garstkloof, Temba and Kwaggasrand – because they had reached their maximum capacity. Onderstepoort landfill site is projected to fill up and will have to be closed in two years' time. In collaboration with the Department of Environmental Affairs, the City has renovated three buy back centres in Atteridgeville, Stinkwater and Hammanskraal.
These and other community-level waste facilities will be priority investments of the future, as opposed to landfill sites. These buyback centres will buy recyclable waste from local waste collectors, businesses and households in their areas. This will significantly reduce the amount of waste that ends up at landfill sites.
Councillor Subesh Pillay, Member of the Mayoral Committee responsible for Economic Development, said that the plan will not succeed without the active participation of residents starting to separate waste at the source and combating illegal dumping.