Waste is defined in the Government Gazette, 24th August 1990, as “any undesirable or superfluous by-product, emission, residue or remainder of any process or activity, any matter, gaseous, liquid or solid, or any combination thereof.” The formal classification of waste is made according to the human health or environmental risk that it may pose, and consequently requirements for safe handling and disposal.

Classes include:

·        General waste – is waste that does not pose an immediate threat to man or the environment, i.e. household and garden waste, builders’ rubble and some dry industrial and business waste. It may, however, with decomposition and rain infiltration, produce leachate, which is unacceptable.

·        Hazardous waste – is waste containing or contaminated by poison, corrosive agents, flammable or explosive substances, chemical or any other substance which may pose detrimental or chronic impacts on human health and the environment.

·        Health care risk waste (HCRW) – is waste generated at health care facilities such as hospitals, clinics, laboratories and research institutions, medical, dental and veterinarian practices, and includes infectious, pharmaceutical and diagnostic waste.

·        Mining/Metallurgical and Power Generation waste – is waste from any minerals, tailings, waste rock or slimes produced by, or resulting from, activities at a mine or works, and ash produced by, or resulting, from the generation of electricity. As much of the industrial and agricultural waste is handled by the generator directly, or indirectly, and makes limited use of local authority service provision, the subsequent discussion will focus on domestic and hazardous waste.

Waste Generation                                

Total general waste produced per capita per year

Waste generation rates are often considered to reflect the economic status of society, the more affluent the society the greater waste produced per capita. Taken from the National Waste Management Strategy Baseline Study (1998) indicates that Gauteng generated the highest volume of general waste in SA and had the highest per capita waste generation of 2.44 m3/capita/annum. This suggests a more affluent society, but is also due to greater commercial, business and industrial development contributing to waste disposed to landfills in the province.

The Gauteng preliminary SoER indicates waste generated from households and requiring collection and disposal in Gauteng as roughly 146 kg/capita/annum (ranging from half that for the poorest and twice that for the most affluent). Extrapolating to a projected population for Gauteng for 2003 of 9 013 900, (population growth of 2 % since 2001 census and a 10 % increase in waste generation per capita, as identified by the Johannesburg Status Quo Report in 2003), waste generation of approximately 480 kg/capita/annum is estimated.

What does waste management link to?

The consequences and impacts of waste management inherently link to other indicators of environmental health and sustainability, particularly:

·         Water resource, the focus being on water quality deterioration and pollution;

·         Biodiversity;

·         Social environment, the focus being on human health;

·         Air quality, the focus being on visual and odour nuisance; and

·         Land, the focus being on provision of suitable locations for landfills and waste services.

         BI Waste

 working for you !


IWMSA MEDIA ALERT: Privatisation of waste management as a better option for service delivery

Eastern Cape ONLY- Waste management and the lack of service delivery by municipalities is going from bad to worse. It’s been a talking point for way too long and action needs to be taken.

Although the government is making inroads, albeit slowly regarding the implementation of the new Waste Act – not enough is being done. The reasons why municipalities continue to struggle in service delivery is the lack of qualified and experienced staff to fulfil the various roles in waste management. The other setback identified regarding the questionable service delivery and waste management is due to the lack of adequate funds to carry out these services.

Does the solution perhaps lie in the privatization of the waste management sector FOR THE EASTERN CAPE AS IN OTHER PROVINCES? This was a question that was raised at a recent workshop hosted by the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) in the Eastern Cape. One of the solutions proposed was to contract out the various services directly to private contractors over a three to five year period which would help the contractors to plan and allocate resources but the private sector is not interested unless municipalities are prepared to make payments 30days (at least) in advance for services rendered by them. Waste management services could also be provided through a public private partnership (PPP) wherein the municipality partners with the private sector who could provide the necessary financing and operational services. The South African government and municipalities need to be role models and provide an enabling environment for waste problems to be fixed and allow the private sector with ideas to participate. Every problem is embedded with a solution within itself as long as there is enough support and commitment from all critical players such as government, private sector and the community. Tuesday 27, September 2011for IWMSA Regine le Roux Reputation Matters

Lack of capacity for effective governance

Notable pressures affecting the capacity to effectively manage waste in Gauteng include the following points:

1.    Economic constraints limit the ability of local government to provide an optimum waste management service infrastructure, vehicles and staffing.

2.    There are limited refuse removal services in poor areas.

3.    There is generally a lack of enforcement of the national and municipal laws and regulations.

4.    Ineffective waste legislation does not allow local, provincial and national authorities to effectively and efficiently penalise waste polluters.

5.    Lack of encouragement of waste minimisation and recycling in the general public.

6.    Un-maintained parks and open spaces encourage illegal dumping.

7.    There is uncontrolled scavenging, poor monitoring and maintenance at landfill sites.

8.    There is a large amount of littering in residential areas (streets, taxi ranks, stations, etc).

9.    Remnants of a historical culture of non-payment for waste services in some instances.

This document was assembled and re-produced by L.Deetlefs for general awareness towards waste issues.

____________________ // ________________________


Chamber of Mines COM (2004) Mine production statistics. City of Johannesburg (2003). Status Quo Report on the Current Waste Generation and Management in City of

Johannesburg. DACEL (2004). Public reports. Department of Agriculture,Conservation and Environment, Johannesburg. DACEL (2003). Workshop Proceedings of Stakeholder Workshop held on 27 March 2003 on the Draft Health Care

Risk Waste Regulations, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment, Johannesburg. DACEL (2000). Feasibility study into the possible regionalisation of health care risk waste treatment disposal facilities in Gauteng. Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment, Johannesburg. DWAF (1998a). Waste Generation in South Africa: Baseline Studies. Waste Management Series. DWAF, Pretoria. DWAF (1998b). Waste Management Series. Minimum Requirements for Waste Disposal by Landfill. DWAF, Pretoria.EMM (2003). Solid waste management annual report 2002/2003. Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Ekurhuleni.


Back Back to top