The National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS) is a legislative requirement of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008), the “Waste Act”. The purpose of the NWMS is to achieve the objects of the Waste Act. Organs of state and affected persons are obliged to give effect to the NWMS. Waste management in South Africa faces numerous challenges and the NWMS provides a plan to address them.
In a recent publication, South Africa was described as drowning in its own waste. The critical question therefore is whether regulators are taking this crisis seriously. South Africans dispose of enough municipal solid waste to fill an entire football field 10 metres deep, every day. Every single person of our total population of 57 million generates up to 2,5 kilograms of waste per day, on average, depending on his or her level of income. The disposal of such waste at properly licensed and regulatory compliant sanitary landfills is generally accepted as being a safe and economical option throughout the world.
Should Government act decisively on the waste crisis now, we will most likely only have a workable, sustainable solution in place within the next ten years. From a waste perspective, South Africa is in self-destruct mode, and if recent history is to be extrapolated, we will be leaving nothing behind but significant air and water pollution for generations to come. It is time that the pleas of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA), and qualified, experienced waste management practitioners be heard, and it is our challenge to the regulatory authorities to no longer ignore the stark reality and take hands with the IWMSA, develop a disaster management team, and act immediately.
The first step to recovery is recognition and admission of the problem at hand. We, as a society, need to admit that we have become complacent with the state of waste management and disposal in our country. Consumers and industry are all contributors to the current state of the public and private sector waste management industry. Our waste management industry as it stands is simply not able to keep up with the high and increasing volumes of waste generated as our population grows. We seriously need to look at adding to our current waste management infrastructure which will ultimately help us manage our country’s waste in a sustainable way.
Sources: Association for Water and Rural Development (2019); Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (2011).
Question 1 (100 Marks)
Given the Abstract above, provide an analysis on the National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS), determine its level of effectiveness and offer recommendations to deal with the current waste crisis in South Africa. Use the format provided below to complete the project.
Answers to Above Questions on Waste Crisis
Answer 1: Waste management is highly essential for every country and their several policies and procedures that are developed with the objective of managing waste in an effective way. In the context of South Africa, the national waste management strategy is a legal requirement that is aimed at complying with the objective of the waste act. In terms of effectiveness of such National waste management strategy, it is evaluated that it is highly effective in creating awareness among people, and it acts as a legislative compliance that requires everyone to follow the waste management practices and remain accountable.
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