National Waste Management Summit
The coming into effect of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008) (hereinafter referred to as the NEMWA) on 1 July 2009 brought about a significant policy shift for waste management in South Africa. This introduced the waste management hierarchy approach which advocates for waste avoidance, reduction, reuse, recycling, recovery as priority options before treatment and disposal of waste, which is the last resort. The NEMWA serves as one of the catalysts aimed at fast tracking the implementation of integrated waste management systems as envisaged by the White Paper on Integrated Pollution and Waste Management of 2000 which emphasised the management of waste throughout its life cycle.
The National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS) which was approved by Cabinet in 2011 sets the priority areas for the implementation of NEMWA which includes driving the recycling economy, implementing a varied regulatory system, creating jobs and SMMEs, promoting public awareness and supporting waste service delivery amongst others. This is because South Africa faces numerous waste management challenges including the growing volumes of waste generated due to economic growth, population growth and the complexity of waste streams generated. Lack of sufficient recycling infrastructure, reclamation systems and insufficient funding mechanisms further add to the complexity of this composite challenge. Central to these challenges; is a need for continued coordination and sharing of resources amongst the three spheres of government as well as industry and civil society in order to make momentous changes in the waste management sector.
It is acknowledged that effective waste management can contribute to job creation thereby responding to the aspirations contained in the National Development Plan, to provide a quality life for all. In this regard, The Department of Environmental Affairs has embarked on law reforms to accelerate economic growth in the waste sector focusing in waste collection and recycling. The National Environmental Management Waste Amendment Act, 2014 (Act No. 26 of 2014) was passed on 2 June 2014. The Act provides for the establishment of a Pricing Strategy for Waste Management Charges as well as the institutional mechanisms in a form of the Waste Management Bureau, which will fast track the implementation of the recycling economy in South Africa.
There is a need to streamline the coordination of waste management initiatives within the country and bring together all the role players. This includes other government departments, provinces, municipalities, private sector, civil society and the general public in order to ensure that the plight of waste management is elevated and that it is placed at the top of government’s service delivery agenda.
This thus motivates for the hosting of a Waste Management Summit at the Ingwenyama Conference Centre in White River, in Mpumalanga Province, on the 9th-11th of March 2015. The Summit will be held over two and half days. The first day (the 9th) will be dedicated to a Government Officials’ Dialogue with government officials from all three spheres participating. This is more an Extended Mintech Working Group 9 Meeting. The second day will involve industry, government, civil society, labour and other role-players, starting with a High Level Segment and Key Note Address by Minister for Environmental Affairs.
The last day of the Waste Management Summit will be the engagements and debates on what approaches will best for the country, learning from other developed and developing economies. At the same level, the Waste Summit will allow for the high level inputs on the direction the country is taking on waste management in all the three spheres of government.
One of the objectives of the National Waste Management Summit is to introduce the recently promulgated National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Act, 2014 (Act No. 26 of 2014) to the stakeholders and allow an opportunity for high level and technical engagement on how the Act will be taken forward. The Waste Management Summit will be held as a once off summit which may be repeated as and when required. The summit does not replace the Waste Management Officers’ Khoro which is held between national, provincial and local government on waste management or the Wastecon, which is attended by representatives of industry and government.
The main objectives of the Summit are:
- To create a platform for high level and technical engagement on waste management priorities for the country
- To deliberate on awareness raising mechanisms at a national scale
- To discuss the best model for the introduction of a robust waste recycling economy
- To discuss the pricing strategy for waste management in the country and the best implementation mechanisms thereof
- To explore co-regulatory approaches such as Industry Waste Management Plans as envisaged in the NEMWAA
- To deliberate on technologies for waste management suitable for South Africa
- To discuss how to incorporate the informal sector in waste recycling
- To mainstream climate change matters in waste management and discuss the implementation of the Waste Management Flagship provided for in the Climate Change Response Policy
- To deliberate on mechanisms for the effective delivery of waste management services by municipalities and support thereof
- To create a national platform for the exchange of information on best practice between municipalities and provinces
- To set a platform for the effective implementation of the NEMWA
- To coordinate waste management matters in general
The Summit will be held on 9th - 11th March 2015 in White River, Mpumalanga Province. The main theme will be‘War on Waste, Driving the recycling economy in South Africa’. The emphasis will be on creating an enabling environment in the country for recycling to thrive including developing recycling infrastructure and creating a sustainable platform mainstream it into the green economy. It is acknowledged that recycling is taking place in the country but it is not coordinated therefore the country is not able to account for all the benefits derived from it.
- Speech: Minister Edna Molewa’s keynote address during the National Waste Management Summit
- Media statement: Minister Edna Molewa to lead the National Waste Management Summit.