News / South Africa

Liam Ngobeni
3 minute read
20 Jun 2018
11:35 am

City of Tshwane running out of space for waste

Liam Ngobeni

If no alternative waste disposal sites are developed, the city could run out of landfill space in five years’ time.

Mooiplaats landfill site Photo: Bennit Bartl

The City of Tshwane is running out of space for landfill sites, Pretoria East Rekord reports.

“If no alternative waste disposal sites are developed, the city will run out of landfill space in five years’ time,” said mayoral spokesperson Samkelo Mgobozi.

READ MORE: Pikitup sheds light on Sandton legal dumping sites

This comes as a major landfill site in the city – Onderstepoort in the north of Pretoria – will have to be closed down soon.

Mgobozi said the city’s waste disposal woes were also made worse by the disruption at some of existing sites by encroaching informal waste recyclers and vagrants.

“Illegal dumping – mostly building rubble or construction waste – is also an issue throughout various parts of Pretoria.

“Another problem is that the metro has not developed any new landfill sites since 2 000 to cope with the growing population in the city.”

The situation has been made worse by a huge influx of people moving to the city for work or educational purposes, said environmental management services head Mthobeli Kolisa.

“The city must use other means of disposing of waste,” said Kolisa.

This meant the metro had to go back to the drawing board and help educate residents that not everything belonged in a rubbish bin.

“Reusing and recycling could effectively assist in ensuring our landfills do not fill up so fast.”

Closed landfill sites. Infographic: Danielle Stroh

Active landfill sites. Infographic: Danielle Stroh

Kolisa said the city’s revised waste disposal and collection strategy also looked at the city’s garbage truck fleet.

“We have a shortage of vehicles,” he said.

“We need to have about 464 units in the fleet servicing the city, and we currently have only 136 units.”

He said the 464 new units would cost the city up to R1 3 billion, which it could not afford at this stage.

The picture isn’t all bleak, however.

According to AfriForum, all the northern Gauteng landfill sites scored more than the required 80 percent on its 33 questions audit to meet minimum legal requirements.

This was part of an audit the organisation did of all the landfill sites in the Tshwane metro this month, which in turn was part of AfriForum’s countrywide landfill audit.

To pass the audit, a landfill site must adhere to several requirements in regards to access control, fencing and fire regulations among others.

“However, a few people live on some of the sites and this poses serious health risks,” said Afriforum district coordinator Tiaan Oosthuizen.

The results showed, however, that while landfill sites under the Tshwane metro performed well, sites under private management did even better.

AfriForum’s Lambert de Klerk said common problems at the landfill sites included theft and vandalisation of fencing.

After the audit, AfriForum said it would launch an alternative plan for landfill sites in South Africa in cooperation with a waste-to-energy company.

De Klerk said similar projects had been very successful in other countries.

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