While Cape residents are still reeling from the water crisis gripping the region, the province could soon be facing a waste crisis as landfills are almost at maximum capacity.
According to the Western Cape Environmental Affairs Department some of the province’s landfill sites could reach full capacity in less than a year.
Environmental Affairs MEC spokesperson James-Brent Styan says less than half of the province’s 164 landfill sites are operational. He notes that the rest are in various stages of rehabilitation.
Styan explains that opposition towards new initiatives like regional waste disposal sites and waste-to-energy plants is a major limiting factor.
To address the problem Styan says the department intends to implement an integrated waste management plan, which includes public awareness and education.
Styan says the problem is not limited to the Western Cape and that there are still many items, such as utensils and appliances, that can be repaired or reused still ending up in landfills.
He believes society needs to move towards a long-term recycling methodology and behaviour change.
“The public can help by reusing and recycling. Look at what you buy and the way it is packaged. Speak to your retailers if packaging is excessive. Consumers have a lot of influence and can help reduce the amounts ending up on landfill sites.”