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The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) is pulling out all the stops this year in preparation for what is anticipated to be their biggest and most comprehensive waste conference to date; WasteCon2012, which is set to take place from 9 to 12 October 2012.

The theme of this year’s WasteCon2012 is Wrestling with Waste with the focus on employment, environment and engineering. The venue, East London’s International Convention Centre (ELICC), offers both indoor, as well as a large outdoor exhibition area and this year marks the largest outdoor exhibition for the waste conference yet.

The IWMSA’s newly appointed president, Deidre Nxumalo-Freeman says “Wrestling brings about feelings of the difficulty and the challenges experienced when managing waste and related issues, especially in situations or municipalities and communities who have limited resources. WasteCon2012 intends to examine these issues very closely in order to collectively find some resolution through engaging all stakeholders who attend the conference.”

Steve Kalule, WasteCon2012 chairman says “The WasteCon organising committee is hard at work to ensure that WasteCon2012 meets and exceeds all expectations. The conference aims to address difficulties faced by the poorer regions in South Africa, especially in developing partnerships to create jobs and to use waste as a resource: in other words to view waste other than as a problem, but rather as a potential resource.”

Regarding the programme, Kalule elaborates, “A crucial topic to be debated is the need to establish a quality assurance program which will regulate the waste sector in South Africa. The IWMSA commissioned the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM) at the North-West University (NWU) to research feasibility and possible approaches to quality assurance in the waste sector or parts thereof. The CEM generated and submitted three reports which will be discussed at one of the workshops in order to ensure a transparent, representative and participative process.”

Other workshops which will be presented by experts in their particular fields are; Turning Agricultural Wastes into Resource, Wrestling with the Waste Act, and Beyond landfills: A new age of maximising the value of waste as an energy and job creation resource in South Africa. In addition, four sites have been selected for technical tours that will take place each day from 10 – 12 October during the WasteCon2012 Conference and Exhibition.

Another highlight of WasteCon2012 is the presentation of the bi-annual Top Green Organisation awards which are run by the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism in conjunction with the IWMSA. The aim of the Awards Programme is to promote and recognize responsible Environmental Management Practices in the Eastern Cape while fostering better relationships between government, industry, business and other organisations.

Information regarding WasteCon2012, sponsorship opportunities, registration and booking, the availability of exhibition stands, the full conference programme and the Top Green Organisation awards may be found at www.wastecon.co.za.

The IWMSA focuses on providing education and training for its members, as well as other interested parties, whether private individuals or government entities.

The IWMSA is a non-profit organisation comprising a body of dedicated professionals in their respective fields, who give freely and voluntarily of their time and expertise in order to effectively educate, promote and further the science and practice of waste management. For more information, visit: www.iwmsa.co.za .

Deidre Nxumalo-Freeman , president of the IWMSA

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