Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa (Image: flickr.com)

Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa (Image: flickr.com)

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) plans to approve and begin the implementation of the three prioritised Industry Waste Management Plans (IWMPs) this year.

While tabling the department’s 2016/2017 Budget Vote Policy Statement in Parliament this week, Minister Edna Molewa announced that the department’s goal for 2016 is to put in place IWMPs for the paper and packaging, electrical and electronic and lighting industries.

In line with the pricing strategy for waste and the SARS waste tyre levy collection system, these IWMPs will set in motion a new economic paradigm for the management of these waste streams in South Africa, reports Molewa.

Plans have been put in place for the management and disbursement of funds will be done through the Waste Management Bureau that will be fully operationalised this year.

 

Tyre management plan

The REDISA Waste Tyre Management Plan launched in 2012 has been cited internationally as best practice for waste management.

As at February 2016, 226 small businesses and 3112 jobs were created through the REDISA plan, and some 20 935 tonnes of waste tyres were collected and 12 728 tonnes processed. “This being a new programme, and the first of its kind, the results remain remarkable. We are currently conducting an annual audit to strengthen this program,” said Molewa.

 

Recycling

Molewa also addressed the issue of recycling, reporting that despite a total estimated value of R25 billion to the South African economy, the current rate of waste recycling has not been maximised.

However, she says her department has established a sound and comprehensive regulatory platform to accelerate the waste recycling economy and waste beneficiation which will unlock economic opportunities in the waste sector.

To encourage the scale-up of recycling enterprises in the waste sector, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) launched the Recycling Enterprise Support Programme that will provide the initial capital setup costs for emerging entrepreneurs.

Notably, Molewa announced that the country’s estimated 62 147 registered waste pickers, who are currently vulnerable workers, will be integrated into the formal waste economy to ensure their safety and protection.

 

Waste Khoro

The DEA will also be convening a Special meeting (Waste Khoro) this month to consider progress made on sound waste management practices since last year’s Waste Summit, especially in supporting municipalities.

“Whilst we acknowledge that we have come a long way, support, capacity and awareness around waste management at a municipal level remains an issue,” said Molewa.

The minister will be launching South Africa’s first fully integrated Waste App, named CleanSweep, at the Waste Khoro. “This is an exciting initiative that will provide instant access by all users to waste data and various links to disposal sites, recycling and awareness information as well as proactively combat illegal dumping,” said Molewa.

 

Hazardous waste roadmap

“Hazardous Waste and Landfill Management remains an area of focus for our department, as this is inextricably linked to the health and wellbeing of surrounding communities.

“We have finalised a Hazardous Waste Roadmap that deals with the import, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous waste, including medical waste. In the past financial year we issued 53 remediation orders for contaminated sites, and by the end of this month we would have finally eradicated a backlog of 341 unlawful municipal landfill sites,” said Molewa.

The DEA has also partnered with the Department of Mineral Resources to address the environmental, health and safety issues around mine dumps in the development of a beneficiation plan for waste from these dumps, and metal processing facilities near these dumps.