Minister: Half of SA landfill sites unauthorised

Almost half of the waste landfill sites around the country are unauthorised, and many need to be closed, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Thursday.

Opening debate on his department’s budget vote in the National Council of Provinces, he told MPs millions of South Africans did not have access to domestic waste-collection services.

“It is estimated that 45% of South Africans, mainly living in informal settlements and rural areas, do not have access to domestic waste-collection services.

“In addition, the country has 1 321 landfill sites, of which 629 are unauthorised, many of which must be formally closed. Included in these are 58 hazardous landfill sites, which are not permitted.

“This situation clearly has a significant negative effect on human health and the environment.”

In many municipalities around the country there were serious waste management system problems, including a lack of finance, operational equipment and capacity.

“Within the Municipal Infrastructure Grant System, waste has an allocation of 5% in a category termed ‘other’ that also includes street lights and other smaller infrastructures.

“Clearly this is not adequate to address the challenges we face as a country,” Van Schalkwyk said.

The new Waste Management Bill—published in the Government Gazette in January this year—will be tabled in Parliament this year.

Among other things, the measure deals with matters relating to the collection, transportation, recovery, reuse, recycling, treatment and disposal of waste.—Sapa

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