Good Green Deeds
The Department of Environmental Affairs is entrusted with a crucial legislative mandate to ensure all citizens within the Republic of South Africa live in a clean and healthy environment and use its resources in a sustainable manner for the benefit of current and future generations. The DEA has over the years crafted and amended pieces of legislation in an endeavour to meet the legislative requirements and has posted remarkable achievements each year. Implementation of environmental programmes has been achieved by forging collaborations with stakeholders operating within the environmental sector, other government institutions and NGOs amongst others.
A historical backlog of waste services for, especially, urban informal areas, tribal areas and rural formal areas exacerbates the littering problem. Much progress has been made since 2002 to ensure public and environmental health and the percentage of households for which waste was removed at least once per week increased from 56,7% in 2002 to 64,9% in 2016 (StatsSA, 2018) while the percentage of households that had no facilities at all, decreased over the same period. The waste services access remains highly skewed in favour of more affluent and urban communities. Inadequate waste services lead to unpleasant living conditions and a polluted, unhealthy environment.
75% of South Africa’s waste is being landfilled (DEA, 2017) and minimal waste is managed through the 4Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recovery). The waste management service that mainly opt for landfill disposal goes against circular economy and the principle of cradle-to-cradle.
Waste generation is increasing with population growth and it critical to reconsider production and consumption patterns of raw materials. The consumption of packaging material is steadily increasing (BMI Research, 2017) 3389.2 tonnes in 2014, 3490.1 tonnes in 2015 and 3832.5 tonnes in 2016. Waste management requires approaches such as circular economy in altering of production patterns and reform waste management. In 2012, only 51,6% of the packaging waste materials were collected as compared to 58% in 2016 for recycling in South Africa (BMI Research, 2017). Closing the loop within the South African packaging context requires deliberate interventions directed at the 42% Paradigm shifts influencing waste awareness and product designs are encouraged to take the environment into consideration to allow for the high recyclability of the resulting waste materials and elimination of waste landfilling.
It is quite evident that littering and illegal dumping are some of the most common problems in South Africa affecting all provinces. Ineffective waste management practices can affect the well-being of the affected communities and this can be further exacerbated by the increased illegal dumping and littering.
The waste management hierarchy forms the basis for the Waste Act that is given effect through the National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS). Goal 4 of the NWMS is to ensure that people are aware of the impact of waste on their health, well-being and the environment. In addition, implementing the waste management hierarchy requires a shift in consciousness, attitudes and behavioural inclinations of businesses, organisations and households. Awareness raising thus is a critical component to ensure that people are aware of the impact of waste on their health, well-being and the environment.
The DEA has realized that more efforts are needed if the environment is to be protected from pollution and has decided on a national Good Green Deeds to mobilise every citizen. The aim of the Good Green Deeds is to promote environmental actions that take into consideration sustainable living practices. What kind of legacy do we want to leave for our children, grandchildren and loved ones? Becoming environmentally conscious starts with one small action, and one small action can go on to inspire a global change. South African citizens have to work together to restore and maintain Mother Nature's majesty. Therefore this programmes is the perfect basis to fight the environmental degradation and ensure that our country is free from litter and illegal dumps.
The programme is about keeping public spaces clean and tidy. It is possible as some cities in countries that have a lower GDP than that of South Africa are the cleanest in the world (i.e. Kigali in Rwanda). The Rwandan community takes pride in keeping their public spaces clean, and they do this by conducting their monthly clean-up programmes in their neighbourhood. Therefore it cannot be difficult for South Africans to duplicate such a noble practice.
The objective for this specific programme is to drive towards a clean South Africa which is free of litter and illegal dumping. This is a nationwide environmental programme that proposes a simple but bold blueprint for what we all can do as individuals, organisations, communities and as a nation to bring about the realisation of a cleaner and more environmentally presentable country.
The main purpose is to change people’s attitudes and behaviour towards waste and its management, as well as to begin taking charge and responsibility of keeping their neighbourhood clean. It has become evident that many current awareness initiatives lead to visually cleaner areas in the short term, they do not encourage sustainable practices that reduce littering and illegal dumping in the long run and this programme is aimed at closing that missing gap.
More emphasis is required in ensuring that the citizens now take a stand against the litter in their neighbourhoods and start to clean-up their areas. The Good Green Deeds will encourage individuals and organisations to come together to conduct clean-up centred activities across South Africa. Municipalities together with their communities should participate in the clean-up programmes to ensure that their localities are free of illegal dumps. The Good Green Deeds programme is whereby every inhabitant of South Africa, from the President to the ordinary person will be taking part in cleaning their neighbourhood and ensuring that our country is clean and free from litter and illegal dumps. Municipalities must ensure that enforcement measures are put in place such as to discourage the practice of illegal dumping.
The Good Green Deeds will be driven towards helping citizens to develop a sense of civic pride in clean neighbourhoods and this will eventually become a change of lifestyle to keep South Africa beautiful whether it is by denouncing simple anti-social habits of littering or major challenges in our nation.
This programme is drawn from the President’s call for Thuma Mina campaign of stewardship and citizens getting involved and the Keep South Africa Clean theme, which has been developed by the steering committee of the National Chemicals and Waste Awareness Forum. The link with other government departments that have mandate on environmental protection is key e.g. COGTA and DWS on water conservation and eliminating water leaks and stopping sewage spillages.
The objective is to instil environmental friendly behaviour and create a national culture in which citizenry is aware of its role in attaining a cleaner and healthy environment through:
i) Litter-free and no dumping behaviour: The SA citizenry to be made aware of the impacts of poor waste management on their health and environment as well as being taught about on proper management of their own waste to keep their surroundings clean.
ii) Waste minimization: Encourage communities to have less waste generation rates through promoting separation at source, re-use, recycle and recovery of their waste and making available infrastructure to allow that behavioural change i.e. Buy-back centers or Drop-offs. The separation of waste at source initiative from Operation Phakisa Chemicals and Waste Economy would be used to avail recycling bins to the municipalities for use in the public spaces.
iii) Opportunities in waste: Advocate for entrepreneurship in the waste industry and access to green economy at the same time keeping our country clean. The provision of recycling bins further provides the opportunity for the manufacturing of both refuse bags intended for the collection of the recyclables at a household level and recycling bins from recyclate that would be located in municipal public spaces. The recyclables would strengthen the manufacturing industry and promote sustainable production and consumption.
(iv) Introduce and implement “possible ban” on some products e.g. single-use products
The Good Green Deeds will prioritise “Litter free and no dumping behaviour” and the other areas, Waste Minimization, Opportunities in Waste and Possible ban on some products would serve to re-enforce circular economy.
In addressing the need to have environmental awareness with the focus on waste, the Good Green Deeds Programme should be in conjunction with the use of influential leaders, waste awareness ambassadors and volunteers that will be identified within the Good Green Deeds programme. These ambassadors will support all the Good Green Deeds programme initiatives in all provinces as well as other environmental events and activities that will arise from the National Waste Management Strategy.
The proposed waste awareness ambassadors should pledge their support for the Clean and Good Green Deeds programme.
They will inspire, educate and influence communities to change their attitudes and behaviour towards waste and its management. They will also be advocates of helping South African citizens’ gain better understanding and knowledge of proper waste management. The President and the Ministers coordinated by DEA and COGTA Ministers will be the main ambassadors and supported by other prominent celebrated individuals who will be selected in consultation with the communications unit within the two departments and Presidency so as to come up with the relevant individuals who will represent this programme. The MEC’s for Environment in the Provinces will also take part as the main ambassadors in their own provinces and will be supported by the identified ambassadors in their provinces.
Good Green Deeds activations and launch activities
|Clean-up activities preceding the launch event|
|07:30 – 08:30||
Eastern Beach area : eBuhlanti:
|07:30 – 08:30||East London (CBD)
- Central Business District (Oxford or Buffalo street)
- East London City Centre Clean Up
- Collection of Waste for Recycling
|07:30 – 08:30||King Williams Town Taxi Rank:
- Taxi Rank Clean Up
- Collection of Waste for Recycling
- Tree planting
|07:30 – 08:30||KwaDIKELA:
- Community Clean-up.
- Litter picking
- Awareness Campaign
- Collected waste to be weighed.
- Separation of recyclables from non-recyclables
- Municipality to collect waste for recycling and disposal.
|10:55 – 11:45||
Highway Taxi Rank/ Highway Park:
|12:00 – 13:00||President Cyril Ramaphosa officially launches the Good Green Deeds at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane, East London.|