Cleaning, Greening & Recycling

Let’s face it…even if we do not know the first thing about recycling, the green economy, environmental management and other terms flying about, we all know about litter. We see it as we drive to work or home; we see it at work and at home and heaven forbid, we do it at work and at home! When looking at all of the environmental challenges facing us on international, national and local level, the easiest to grapple with is littering.

If you are guilty of littering…stop… and if you are irritated with it, get involved in cleaning up and keeping your environment clean. It is the one area where we can all pitch in and get easy and clear results. Like charity, the drive against littering begins at home…both the locality and the mindset.

Clean up your own immediate environment first and then move out in ever widening circles…just like that drop in a pool of clean fresh water! Get the picture? Good! So does the Campaign!

The Campaign is proud of the excellent work that has been done through its facilitation and incentivising efforts as far as cleaning up the environment is concerned. Cleaning up is not just cleaning up. It is where recycling and the creation of many green employment opportunities start – the first link in a strong green chain.

The Campaign would be the first to admit that cleaning up is the easy part – it is keeping the environment clean that is the real challenge. This is again where the importance of partnerships comes to the fore. The Campaign invites individuals, businesses, churches, NGOs and all others to come on board…and stay on board. In keeping with its action-oriented values the Campaign has been involved in cleaning up interventions in a number of places. Have a look!

Recycling – Let’s Use it Again!

With 2,8 million tons of waste land-filled each year in South Africa and less than 10% of that being recycled, it is very clear that South Africans are nowhere near well educated and practice oriented when it comes to recycling. Just have a look at the following staggering figures!

It is estimated that every South African generates between ½ and 2 kilograms of waste every day – and remember we are about 50 million in this beautiful country of ours. Face it – that is a lot of waste!

South Africa boasts about 2 000 waste disposal sites, but in 2009 only 27% of them were licensed to receive and process waste. In 2010 approximately 90% of urban households and 27% of rural households had access to waste removal services with the South African government endeavouring to raise the figures to 95% and 75% respectively by 2016. Even though 80% of all South African municipalities have initiated recycling initiatives, most of them are struggling to sustain their efforts.

A far as landfill sites are concerned, the Free State is undeniably facing a ticking ecological time-bomb. The Free State has 76 landfill sites of which 38 are licensed in terms of the National Environmental and Waste Act of 2008, but even the licensed sites are not adhering to the prescripts of the Act. Landfill sites in the province hardly ever have effective access control with fences around the sites removed or vandalised and recycling efforts by waste-pickers not regulated and controlled.

It is however not just municipalities failing in their regard for the environment. The public and businesses contribute to the deteriorating situation by not adhering to municipal bye-laws and regulations – even dumping dead animals and medical waste at landfill sites.

Uncontrolled waste-picking adds to the mix – leading to conflict between waste-pickers and crimes being committed. Families with infants live on landfill sites in extremely dangerous and unhygienic environments. Immediate and far-reaching intervention in this regard is crucial and must address the following:

  • Adherence to all national legislation by municipal councils;
  • Education of the public regarding recycling and the proper utilisation of landfill sites;
  • Effective law enforcement at landfill sites;
  • Pressure on all agencies responsible for environmental management; and
  • The media to play a watchdog and educational role pertaining to issues of waste management and recycling.

Metropoles, secondary cities and larger towns (falling into municipal categories A, B1 and B2) are supposed to have programmes in place to ensure the sorting of waste before removal – this will align with the aim of the Polokwane Declaration in ensuring that at least 25% of all recyclable materials are kept out of the landfills of South Africa, and that by 2022 no waste reaches any landfill site at all.

Is this at all possible? Yes it is! In Sweden, recycling is done so effectively and the waste material used for energy generation consumed so completely that the country has run out of waste and now has to import waste from Norway in order to keep energy-generating plants running. Imagine that! That leaves us lagging far behind and the Campaign aims to do something about it.

Even though we are bombarded with information on the topic, few of us actually take it seriously and get stuck into it! Well, the Campaign does – have a look.