Call for mindshift in human behaviour on waste disposal
Liam Ngobeni and Chelsea Ntuli
Tshwane has seen a waste management crisis in recent weeks, with rubbish strewn along the roadside and dumped in open spaces.
The launch of a new fleet of vehicles, including refuse collection vehicles, was widely welcomed but Tshwane head administrator Mpho Nawa said residents must also play their part.
He said at the launch of the fleet that the situation of dumping had reached concerning levels and the city was looking at various solutions as dumping illegally had health implications.
While the city had launched the vehicles, which could deal with the waste load, the issue was also human behaviour and he urged the community to separate waste, and not to dump anywhere and everywhere.
“We have new trucks to help deal with the waste load, but we need the community to meet us half way because in every community we can separate waste such as organic material, plastic can be recycled and other products can be reused.”
He said illegal dumping seen in various parts of the city was lawlessness, and people who saw this dumping in their community should report it. “Thee is no way residents do not see some of the dumpers,” he said.
Nawa said they were also looking to give residents incentives for good behaviour regarding waste management and sustainability of recycling.
Nawa said some offering tree felling, rubble removal and garden waste service providers were in their cross-hairs and, if caught dumping illegally, would be prosecuted.
“The warning is clear, this is a punishable offence and we are going to train green police who will focus on environmental protection and justice.”
He said campaigns around waste were also in the pipeline to create awareness. Echoing what the Minister of Environment Barbara Creecy said, he said: “Recycling is income generation, and this waste that we are seeing in abundance could translate to income for many.”
Meanwhile, the Plastics industry is calling on citizens to become “eco-warriors” who care about their environment and do not dump illegally.
This is part of the call of national Clean-up and Recycle week which ends on Saturday with the coastal clean up.
The SA National Bottled Water Association chief executive Charlotte Metcalf, said people should say no to any packaging not designed for reuse or recycling.
Citizens should support and participate in recycling projects in their neighbourhoods. “Take a stand and ignore products that are not packaged in recyclable materials,” she said.
For example, clear plain bottles could be recycled but those with designs printed on the plastic may look good but could not be recycled because the ink pollutes the recycling chain.
World Clean up day is the biggest one-day civic action against waste. Plastics SA director Douw Steyn said individuals should take responsibility for the waste they generate and how it is disposed of.