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Hazardous waste: are you informed?

All the products consumers use on a daily basis need to be disposed of correctly to prevent it from ending up on a municipal landfill area. So says Dr Suzan Oelofse, president of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA).

Household hazardous waste is one such waste stream which should not end up on a landfill site as it is potentially extremely harmful to the environment and citizens’ health.

With dwindling landfill airspace and higher environmental consciousness, the correct disposal of waste items has become more important than ever in South Africa. With the growing supply of buy-back centres and kerbside collection facilities, South Africa is moving towards separation at source to ultimately reduce pressure on landfill sites and to promote better waste disposal practices.

Household hazardous waste is one waste stream that can potentially have a very negative effect on the environment, not to mention human health. These items include electronic waste, batteries, CFL light bulbs, health care waste which includes syringes and old medicines, paint, pesticides and oil.

There is unfortunately no ‘one-size fits all’ solution to hazardous waste, however, a number of retailers already provide drop-off facilities for batteries, e-waste and light bulbs. Pick n Pay, Spar, Woolworths, Makro, Builders Warehouse and Incredible Connection stores are just some of these retailers. Some municipalities also provide drop-off facilities at garden sites for this purpose, but not all hazardous waste streams are necessarily accepted.

Consumers should also be informed about The Consumer Protection Act (Act 68 of 2008), which is geared towards protecting consumers. The Act recognises that some consumer goods that have reached the end of its lifecycle may be prohibited from being disposed of in common waste collection systems. This act places a responsibility on suppliers and producers of consumer goods to implement take-back schemes at no charge to the consumer.

There are various recyclers that collect certain hazardous waste streams, so that it can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. Consumers should start to separate their waste at source to contribute to a cleaner environment.

To find out where your nearest waste recycler is, visit www.mywaste.co.za.

For more information, visit the IWMSA website.

Alternatively, visit their page on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Source: Media Update


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Botswana details efforts to bag e-waste

As the ICT sector grows in Botswana, government is already grappling with e-waste management and has put out calls to influence disposal e-waste safely.

The Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) and Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control (DWMPC) are spearheading government’s initiative to promote safe disposing of e-waste.

Through collaboration with Pretoria-based Africa Institute, an international NGO for sound management of hazardous waste and other chemicals, DWMPC has produced a video expected to promote safe disposing of waste.

According to DWMPC the video shows the situation of e-waste in Botswana, the private sector and public institution initiatives and recycling of e-waste in South Africa and Namibia.

“It is hoped this video will create awareness on the potential dangers of poor handling and disposal of e-waste in our society and stimulate private sector efforts towards resource recovery and recycling of this waste,” said Frank Molaletsi from DWMPC, waste management department.

In 1998 Botswana’s legislators promulgated the country’s Waste Management Act, and the piece of legislation is silent on issues of e-waste.

And in another initiative DWMPC has put out a tender to engage a consultancy to develop an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Policy to address the shortcomings and gaps in the existing waste management legislation including the sound management of e-Waste.

“Funds have been secured for this exercise. This policy will pave way for the development of an overarching legislation that will address waste management issues holistically,” said Molaletsi.

Adding sentiments to issues of e-waste Mphoeng Tamasiga, Deputy Chief Executive at BOCRA said; “The reality is that once our communications gadgets reach the end of their useful life they become waste, not just any waste but electronic waste or e-waste.”

Tamasiga said electronic waste is currently regarded as the largest growing waste stream, posing the most diverse challenges, including environmental, economic and social aspects because of its hazardous and complex nature.


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