Government focuses on improving waste management

Friday, June 9, 2023

Government has committed to pay attention to waste management in this financial year, with the creation of 2 000 work opportunities per province for a period of 12 months.

Delivering her department’s Budget Vote Speech in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, said government will reinvigorate the Presidential Good Green Deeds programme to focus on cleaning and greening the provincial capitals.

The cities that are included are Mangaung, Polokwane, Mbombela, Mahikeng, Sol Plaatjie, Buffalo City, Nelson Mandela Bay, Sedibeng, West Rand, Ekurhuleni, Umsunduzi, and the Greater Cape flats region, including Langa, Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha, Elsies River, Mfuleni, Phillipi and Bonteheuwel.

“Our programme will see the creation of 2 000 work opportunities per province for a period of 12 months to support municipalities in the provincial capitals to clean up dump sites, plant trees and stop littering in selected streets.

“In these cities, additional support will also be given to ensure waste management authorities have access to the yellow fleet and there is greater focus on improving land fill compliance and support t for the diversion of waste to recycling activities,” the Minister said on Thursday.

In South Africa, about 80 000 tons of plastic leaks into rivers and the oceans as a result of failures in the waste management system. 

“Severe financial management challenges mean many municipalities are not able to expand household waste collection and some areas, which previously had regular waste removal, no longer have a weekly service,” Creecy.

Last week, officials from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment joined business and civil society in Paris at the second meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution. 

“The journey to the first global legally binding plastic treaty began in February last year when the United Nations Environment Assembly convened in Kenya and a historic.

“A total of 175 nations, including South Africa, committed to developing an international legally binding instrument including the environment, with the aim of completing negotiations by the end of 2024.

“In Paris last week, agreement was reached on a mandate for the preparation of a zero-draft text of the instrument for consideration at the third session of the committee that will be hosted by the Africa Region in Kenya, Nairobi, from 13 - 17 November 2023,” Creecy said.

The African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) is leading the African Group of Negotiators and South Africa will jointly review Africa’s progress to date in August this year. 

Fisheries management

The Minister noted that work to complete the appeals for the 2021/22 Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) is at an advanced stage, with the final appeals set for finalisation by 30 October 2023. 

“Fishing not only contributes to the national fiscus through commercial fishing operations, but also improves the lives of our coastal communities. Once the allocation of fishing rights to all declared small-scale fishing cooperatives in the Western Cape is finalised, small-scale fishing co-operatives in the four coastal provinces will be supported through training, capacity building, development and infrastructure support programmes.  These will be offered in partnership with provinces, municipalities, NGOs and other partners,” Creecy said.

About 1 500 work opportunities will be created countrywide and 900 full-time equivalents in the four coastal provinces through the Working for Fisheries projects this year.

These include marine anti-poaching, small-scale fisheries mentorship, fishing harbour’s maintenance, alternative livelihoods projects, catch data capturing, projects in the Hamburg community and at the Gariep Aquaculture Project.

This will see 40 jobs created in the Northern Cape, 870 in the Western Cape, 340 in the Eastern Cape, 225 in KwaZulu-Natal and 25 in the Free State. -