Launched during a media conference on Thursday June 2, the aim of the “Municipal waste management – good practices” toolkit is to highlight those initiatives which have resulted in real improvements to the way that waste is managed in communities.
“Our research has shown that municipalities are often challenged by obstacles outside their mandate or control. However, in visiting 123 municipalities across South Africa, it became evident that several of them were able to overcome these challenges and provide sustainable waste management services through good practice,” Dr Suzan Oelofse, leader of the project, said at the conference.
For Dr Oelofse, there is an important difference between best practice and good practice: “Best practice is often the enemy of good practice. In developing countries, best practice options are often high technology solutions imported from developed countries that are often not sustainable over the long term. Good practice, however, typically arises from those people who work with the challenges daily, and through simple approaches find successful, innovative and sustainable solutions.
“And this is what this toolkit is all about,” she added.
Launched during a media conference at the CSIR in Pretoria, Dr Oelofse also referred to the fact that the National Waste Act, which came into effect on 1 July 2009, is the first South African law to drive recycling. However, in 2007 the then Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) found that 87% of municipalities lacked the capacity and infrastructure to pursue waste minimisation activities, resulting in dangerous activities such as salvaging for valuables or re-usable items on landfill sites.
The toolkit highlights several examples where municipalities, some of them with very limited resources, have managed to overcome this challenge.
A pdf of the “Municipal waste management – good practices” toolkit is available from the CSIR website at http://www.csir.co.za/nre