In an effort to safeguard the environment and combat pollution the City of Johannesburg is set to roll out a phased approach to make separation at source mandatory for households.

According to Nico de Jager, the City of Johannesburg’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Services, the biggest challenge the city faces is to change human behaviour and get people to understand how they impact the environment in the way they deal with plastic. This is why the city is introducing this initiative.

De Jager made the announcement on World Environment Day, when he participated in a clean-up event in Lenasia.

Between bouts of back-breaking work, De Jager paused to tell learners and residents that the city was mindful that a sustainable environment requires partnerships with all communities to protect the environment and ultimately humanity.

Beating plastic pollution

The event, held under the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution”, encouraged learners, residents and local businesses to explore sustainable alternatives to reduce the production and excessive use of single-use plastic polluting rivers and streams that are currently damaging aquatic life and threatening human health.

De Jager said there was a lot of rubbish and that one day was not enough to address the backlog. “But with the community’s involvement, I’m positive this challenge will be effectively dealt with,” he said.

He urged everyone to keep the following in mind: “If you can’t reuse it, then you must refuse it.”

Illegal dumping costly to the city

Illegal dumping and littering cost the City around R60 million a year, said Lungile Dhlamini, the Managing Director of Pikitup.

He said the City’s waste management company, Pikitup, was trying to eradicate illegal dumping spots around Joburg. “We have around 2 000 known illegal dumping spots within the City. Between July 2017 and now, we have eradicated 110 illegal spots.”