These issues are, however, not the exclusive preserve of government. ¿The private sector and civil society have crucial roles to play. The fostering of partnerships between government and the private sector is a prerequisite for sustainable and effective pollution and waste management to take place,¿ stated Mr Valli Moosa, Minister for Environmental Affairs and Tourism, in his foreword to the White Paper.
¿The CSIR Centre for Integrated Waste Management draws on expertise from across the organisation and covers fields as diverse as municipal waste management, waste utilization, mining waste, process technology, waste water treatment, environmental management and analytical services¿, says Linda Godfrey, Acting CIWM Secretariat.
Recent CSIR successes in waste management
- Mine waste:
An industry-wide approach is presently being implemented to quantify properties of typical wastes created as part of coal mining and coal processing. Potential benefits of these wastes are quantified under a national CSIR initiative, Coaltech 2020.
- Health-care (medical) waste management
In a project for the Ministry of Health and Population in Malawi (in cooperation with the Bill and Melinda Gates Children¿s Vaccine Programme implemented by the Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH)), the CSIR assessed current waste management systems for immunization waste generated during mass and routine immunization programmes, over a period of one month, at approximately 500 health centres. A plan to rectify shortfalls was prepared in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Environmental Affairs, and other key stakeholders in Malawi. Similar projects are to be replicated in other countries where per capita earnings are lower than $1000 per annum. Many of these countries are in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Product development from waste materials
Recent projects include the use of hemp waste from the textiles industry to make building products as well as the recycling of building rubble into aggregates and blocks. The CSIR has also been involved in a number of projects to investigate the reuse of waste materials and by-products in road construction. These include mine rock investigations, the use of waste ash as a construction material in roads and other applications, phospho-gypsum, waste plastics, ferrochrome slag and many of the dust palliatives.
A recent CSIR study on food and agricultural waste utilisation and by-product beneficiation investigated the possibility of producing ethanol and biofuel from agricultural wastes, (pineapple, banana, orange & mango), focusing on processes that are suitable for small-scale production. The study also presented small-scale production processes, mostly for the production of alcoholic drinks.
- Environmental management
The CSIR has conducted a number of investigations to identify suitable areas for the siting of local and regional landfill sites. Through a process of applying exclusionary and cautionary criteria, using a GIS approach, followed by a site verification phase, a number of potential sites can be identified for further detailed feasibility investigations, including geohydrology, geotechnical aspects and transport financial studies.
- The Green Buildings for Africa programme was developed as a voluntary commercial mechanism for the property industry to mitigate the environmental impact of buildings through energy conservation, conservation of non-renewable resources, sustainable use of renewable resources and environmentally conscious policy and decision-making.
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