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New innovations needed to manage waste, indaba told Print E-mail
24 July 2017

The City of Johannesburg would have to think out of the box if it were to deal effectively with the rapidly dwindling landfill space, a dialogue on waste management heard on Friday July 21.

Speakers at the Waste Treatment Technology Dialogue – organised by the City’s waste management entity, Pikitup, and held at the University of Johannesburg – said there was an urgent need to move away from the “conventional way of doing things” if the waste management challenge in Johannesburg were to be adequately addressed.

The dialogue was attended by, among others, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment Infrastructure and Services Cllr Nico de Jager, Chairman of the Pikitup Board of Directors Bhekisisa Shongwe and Pikitup Managing Director Lungile Dhlamini.

Pikitup collects about 6 000 tons of household waste a day, which accumulates to over 1.6 million tons a year. The City has been warned that if it does not find an effective solution to the mounting waste management problem soon, it could run out of space in landfill sites in a few years’ time.

Several waste management experts who spoke at the dialogue presented a number of innovations they believed could be critical in not only addressing the waste management challenge in Johannesburg, but also in generating alternative energy and create jobs in the sector.

Jason McNeil, a representative of Interwaste, said his company was, among other things, looking at commissioning a concept called Mass Burner Energy within the next three to five years that would turn solid municipal waste into alternative energy.

McNeil also said his company had created 500 jobs by separating waste at source to create a substitute for coal. He said about 150 000 tons a year of waste was diverted from landfill sites because of this ground-breaking technology.

McNeil told delegates his company’s main plant in Germiston had created 1 500 jobs over four years as a result of this innovation.

Sipho Dube of Landfill Consult, who has been in waste management for over 20 years, said separation at source was critical in managing waste.

He said his company had organic waste and material removing facilities to produce organic compost.
“We have to change our attitude. It can’t be business as usual,” said Dube.

MMC De Jager said he was delighted that solutions to Pikitup’s challenges had been provided at the dialogue. “The most important thing we took out here is that we need to listen to solutions. We tend to talk down to our residents instead of listening to them. We don’t have all the solutions. The solutions come from the community. It is important,” he said.

“The other most important thing here is the fact that we have a solution to the electricity overload problem in our informal settlements. We now have a solution at a minimal cost. Not only will we supply them with energy, we can also create employment,” said Cllr De Jager.

Pikitup executives have formulated a new ward-by-ward business model on solid waste management. The model will be discussed extensively at a management meeting in August.


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