AfriForum visited the landfill sites in Parys and Heilbron and found after an audit that these do not adhere to national standards. The audit forms part of an annual national campaign during which landfill sites in towns where AfriForum has established branches are evaluated against 33 questions.
According to relevant legislation and regulations, among these the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No 59 of 2008), all landfill sites must meet requirements. These include requirements on access control and regulations on illegal dumping, fencing and rehabilitation, as well as fire regulations. A landfill sites must obtain at least 80% to pass AfriForum’s audit.
The landfill site in Parys obtained only 8%. The landfill site is only partially fenced in, but almost no control exists on the type of waste dumped there. Illegal waste such as tyres is accepted, while animals forage between garbage looking for food.
“Because Heilbron operates an illegal landfill site that adheres to no legislation, it obtained 0%. It does not have a waste management licence, is not fenced in and we have encountered animal carcasses at the entrance. Furthermore, people live on the landfill site, which poses major health risks,” says Stephen Nel, Assistant Coordinator for AfriForum’s central region.
Nel also says that the most common problem encountered by AfriForum during the audit is among other the absence of waste management licences, as well as that no municipal workers were found at the sites – only recyclers who work and live there.
The Sasolburg landfill site was also tested and failed with a score of 6%.
AfriForum audited about 120 landfill sites in areas where there are established AfriForum branches. These results will be compiled in a report and submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs. “We are thankful for the Department’s cooperation and making available waste management officers for our audits,” says Chris Boshoff, AfriForum’s Coordinator for Environmental Affairs.
After the project, AfriForum will unveil a plan as alternative to landfill sites in South Africa in cooperation with a waste-to-energy company. Similar projects have been very successful in other countries.
AfriForum sent letters of demand to municipalities of which the landfill sites were not up to standard. The civil rights organisation also requested action plans and target dates to be put in place in ensuring landfill sites are managed in a legal, environmentally-friendly manner.
The audit report will also be submitted to the Green Scorpions for further investigation and action against guilty municipalities.
AfriForum will monitor the process continuously to ensure that landfill sites are brought up to standard.