JOHANNESBURG – Another clean-up in Alexandra has left some residents skeptical of the Gauteng government’s efforts to keep their township clean.
On Sunday morning, the Gauteng province relaunched the Bontle ke Bothocampaign, aimed at mobilising the community into successful waste management structures.
“This is not the first clean-up in Alex there’ve been a lot of clean-ups but I think what’s important is that they’ve not been sustainable,” said Lebogang Maile, Gauteng member of the executive committee (MEC) for economic development, environment, agriculture and rural development.
The government wants residents to take responsibility for waste removal.
“It doesn’t help to wait for government and leadership to after a certain period of time to come and clean we need to get to a point where people here will take up this responsibility,” said Maile.
One local resident Walter Molewa said that the rubbish in Stjwetla, an area situated on the banks of the Jukskei river, has been piling up for years.
“Where is Pikitup? They hire people to clean everyday but where do they clean? This rubbish has been here for five years,” said Molewa.
Another resident, Victor Mahlaule, said “We have no life here, there’s no cleanliness.”
Gauteng generates 45 percent of the country’s waste.
With rapid urbanisation, the pressure on waste management infrastructure is overwhelming.
“In the past five years, a million people moved to Gauteng. There’s almost 20,000 people who move into the different parts of our province every month and so it puts lots of pressure on education, healthcare and the demand for housing,” said Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
Levels of waste are high in Stjwetla, with rubbish buried into the river embankment and a large mountain of waste next to communal taps.
“It is hazardous, this is a disaster, this is undesirable, and this is inhuman. We shouldn’t be having a situation like this but it’s unfortunate, it’s a sad reality and we have to do something as government,” said Maile.
Plans include building more parks and vegetable gardens to ensure that the public space is occupied and to deter illegal dumping.
According to authorities, 60% of Gauteng’s waste is recyclable. This, according to Premier Makhura, presents major employment opportunities.
“Recycling can be a source of income for many in our communities so we want to work with them to ensure that we keep our province clean,” said Makhura.
However, after many years and different premiers Molewa said he was tired of false promises.
“Nomvula Mokonyane, Mbazhima Shilowa and Mathole Motshegka didn’t sort this place out. They’re playing games these guys,” he said.
Resident Emmanuel Malatji said, “This kind of problem is going on and on because we don’t have a dustbin, plastic bags and there’s no skip where we can recycle.”
“It’s not that we’re happy to live in a place like this – in this condition. All we need to have a skip where we can through rubbish so they can come and collect it easily,” he said.
The province has already invested R16-million in the programme and are calling on the private sector for more funds.
“We need a lot more money,” said Maile.
Partnerships between companies, communities, government and nongovernmental organisations are necessary to enable the efficient recycling of electronic waste (e-waste) throughout Africa, says Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa head Fredrik Jejdling.
Ericsson has piloted a partnership model for e-waste collection in Benin with African cellular major MTN, which resulted in the establishment of a collection depot with a 20-foot container. Ericsson has a producer responsibility under the European Union Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (EU WEEE Directive) to ensure that 75% of materials be recovered from all e-waste collected. “Though the EU WEEE Directive stipulates 75%, Ericsson has an internal target of ensuring 95% of useable materials are recovered from e-waste collected.
This initiative to encourage proper recycling is part of our global Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility strategy. Our equipment is present in cellular towers, on rooftops, in industries and in people’s hands across the continent. “However, Africa is vast and markets widely spaced, requiring partnerships to enable efficient collection of e-waste. The problem is lower volumes across a larger geography than is the case in, for example, Europe,” Jejdling explains.
The partnership with MTN in Benin allows for e-waste to be transported, using routine field services, to the collection container in the city centre of Porto Novo from where it can be efficiently transported for processing. The e-waste is sent to a South African processing plant, after which it is shipped to Ericsson’s Europe-based recycler. At the recycler, all the recoverable metals and minerals, and hazardous substances or minerals are removed. The metals and minerals are sold on the exchange market, while the hazardous materials treated. Ericsson is assessing how it can broaden this model of e-waste recycling to other parts of Africa, specifically through partnerships. “We aim to extend our partnership with MTN in the other countries in which they operate, and we might also partner with other operators in this region to increase the scale of the initiative. We would love to bring the concept to South Africa,” he adds.
However, Jejdling says all these initiatives depend on local capacity, including willing partners, and the ability to meet best practice health and safety standards with regard to e-waste handling. Ericsson encourages other service providers and organisations, as well as companies that operate supply chains that can be used to transport consumer goods e-waste to the collection site to join the initiative.
Source: Engineering News
Follow Alive2Green on Social Media