South Africa is set to launch its first Research Chairs to assist in addressing the challenges and opportunities around solid waste management.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will launch the South African Research Chairs on Waste and Climate, and on Waste and Society, in Pretoria on Tuesday, 14 August 2018.

The two new research chairs form part of the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI), and have been established in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) as the implementing agency of the country’s Waste Research, Development and Innovation Roadmap.

An estimated 65% of municipal organic waste, and nearly 100% of commercially exploitable biomass from the agricultural and food processing sectors, is still disposed of on land, resulting in significant potential for greenhouse gas emissions. In 2010, the waste sector was the second largest contributor to the country’s total methane emissions.

At the same time, waste management presents considerable opportunities for job creation and enterprise development.

SARChI is an initiative of the DST led by the National Research Foundation (NRF) to attract and retain research excellence and innovation at universities, science councils and national research facilities. Tuesday’s launch will bring the total number of research chairs under the DST-NRF initiative to 234.

The launch will take place at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria.