Approximately eight Western Cape municipalities have come under fire for unsustainable waste management programmes aggravated by lack of funding and suitable land.The Western Cape province possesses 57 landfill sites in various regions and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning said environmental assessments had shown that a shortage in landfills was a huge concern. The province has 57 landfill sites across different regions and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning said environmental assessments had shown that a shortage in landfills was a major concern. The Departments Rudolf va Jaarveldt said, “there is a huge shortage of suitable landfill sites. Sites need to meet strict environmental, social and technical considerations before they can be deemed suitable, and there are very limited parcels of land that meet this requirement. Waste minimisation needs to be taken seriously, and circular economy principles need to be taken into consideration.” He stated that municipalities are required to perform a topographical survey to estimate remaining space, an estimation between 18 to 20 municipalities could be assisted over the three-year funding cycle with the funding that the department has. “This will then give the municipality the ability to plan accordingly in terms of its waste management strategies, knowing what the life expectancy is of the landfill site,” added Van Jaarsveldt.
Witzenberg, Central Karoo District, Laingsburg, Cederberg, Oudtshoorn, Langeberg, Kannaland and Matzikama are reportedly part of the eight of 30 municipalities in the province that have dealt with the most difficulties.Spokesperson of Cederberg municipality Anthony Mlata said that the municipality only has R500 000 in their budget for cleaning up dumping sites. “Cederberg Municipality has five disposal sites, these sites need to be closed due to either full capacity or poor location. Important and vulnerable aquifers under most of its municipal area make Cederberg an unsuitable location for waste sites,” said Mlata. Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Cape Town Professor Harro Blottnitz spoke on the need to reduce waste and burn solid waste through the use of chemicals. “People proposed that we should have a zero-waste strategy. It is a good one to speak about for some time to come and we need to seriously talk about alternative strategies, which include incineration,” he said. In an interview with Weekend Augus, Health expert and Epidemiologist from Stellenbosch University, Dr Jo Barnes said that landfill sites must be lined properly so that the pollution does not infiltrate and pollute groundwater and to make sure that rain does not cause run-off that pollutes nearby rivers and streams.