Gauteng MEC urges citizens to tackle illegal dumping

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The Gauteng member of the executive committee (MEC) for Economic Development, Agriculture and Environment, Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa, has urged South Africans to recycle their waste. He also called on citizens to avoid illegal dumping and consider the environmental impacts of their waste habits.He has started a clean-up initiative in Gauteng that aims to tackle litter and plastic pollution in public spaces and waterways. “It is not a panacea to resolving our problems but it's going to make sure that we are able to address the attitudes of our people in relation to the environment, space and litter,” says Dr Ramokgopa.The clean-up campaign will be conducted in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, headed by minister Barbara Creecy. Dr Ramokgopa has committed his department to educate and support communities in Gauteng with their waste, especially when it comes to turning refuse into value.

Waste is the new gold

“We need to ensure that we are able to convert waste into revenue income. My view is simple - waste is the new gold. There are new technologies that can be employed to ensure that we recycle and sell back to big companies,” explains Dr Ramokgopa.“The major barrier there is the capital associated with buying the necessary implements and equipment for one to be able to do the conversions. That is why the department of economic development is there to help budding entrepreneurs to ensure that they participate in the mainstream economy while we are getting our communities clean,” he says. Dr Ramokgopa is also fully aware of the problem of illegal dumping in South Africa. “Let us convey to our communities that it is their responsibility, but they can also generate income from collecting waste,” he states, while also encouraging local municipalities to work hard and tackle illegal dumping.

President Ramaphosa encourages clean-ups

Minister Creecy states that the recent clean-up campaign in Gauteng follows on from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for all South Africans to actively participate in protecting the environment.“President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the Good Green Deeds Campaign in March, so this is not the first cleaning-up campaign, and it will certainly not be the last. We chose this area because there is a municipal landfill site here. There is regular collection of garbage in this community, but there is also this problem of illegal waste disposal,” she explains.“What is very important is the whole issue of citizen education. One of the things our department is committed to is to do more of the citizen education so that we can all understand why illegal waste is not an appropriate form of behaviour,” says Creecy.The problem of illegal dumping is quite widespread in South Africa. “We are looking at how we can mitigate the fact that for some people, they are not yet receiving weekly garbage collection which leads to this problem of illegal dumping. We only have 66 percent of communities that are receiving weekly waste disposal, 80 percent of communities do have access to waste disposal but it may not be weekly,” she states.“The Good Green Deeds Campaign has a primary emphasis on the issue of citizen behaviour. One of the things I want to see more of is consciousness about environmental issues in our schools. I think if one starts with young people, and we help them understand why environmental issues are everybody’s issue because the deteriorating quality of life affects everybody,” says Creecy.Citizens around the country need to be mindful of their waste disposal habits and avoid illegal dumping at all costs. Not only does it pollute the environment but it can cause severe health threats to the population in many instances. These community clean-up projects will help to promote a safe environment for all South Africans.___Averda is a leading waste management provider with over 50 years of experience across three continents. Through growth, transformation and engagement, we strive to find new ways of managing waste while protecting the community and environment. ___By pairing international expertise with local insights, we have secured our position as one of South Africa’s most respected providers of waste management and industrial cleaning services. We also operate in the recycling, pipe inspection, CCTV, infrastructure inspection, hydro-demolition, high-pressure water jetting and catalyst handling industries. ___Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the best tips on recycling and the latest industry news. See our Instagram and YouTube channels for more insights into environmental affairs and our work with local communities.