The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) will host the International Solid Waste Association Conference (ISWA) – the foremost event in the field of solid waste management – on South African soil for the first time in 2024.

The ISWA World Congress takes place in Cape Town from September 15 to 18, and serves as a global assembly, featuring elevated plenary sessions, technical site visits, and a rich cultural and social itinerary. Waste management professionals, government officials, industry leaders, policymakers, scientists, and emerging professionals will engage in constructive dialogues to encourage scientific and technical advancements in sustainable solid waste management.

The congress’s theme is “Waste to Wealth: Solutions for a Sustainable Future,” encompassing a comprehensive range of topics within the waste management field. These include biological treatment, collection and transfer technology, public participation, hazardous waste, health care risk waste, legal matters, recycling and waste minimisation, thermal treatment, landfill: construction, operations and rehabilitation, funding, finance, affordability, and public private partnerships.

“We hope that the conference’s legacy will see Africa move from waste to wealth, and help us provide solutions for a sustainable future,” said Mpendulo Ginindza, IWMSA President and ISWA2024 Conference Chair. “The event is a platform for the exchange of knowledge, ideas, techniques and technologies, granting regional and local educators, practitioners, and researchers access to an international network to foster opportunities to establish novel business connections and research collaborations. This collaborative networking endeavour is poised to stimulate innovation, catalyse ideas, and set research agendas for years to come, while bolstering the region’s economy.”

Social sustainability will be a focus of the conference, aiming to broaden its outreach to directly support disadvantaged communities and leave an enduring legacy. An innovative ‘Waste Repurposed’ Project will invite students to craft art pieces from waste materials. The repurposed creations will be sold during the conference to generate funds for sustainable projects in Southern Africa. “This endeavour not only advances social sustainability through charitable contributions, but also bolsters the visibility of these emerging SMMEs,” Ginindza said. The conference seeks to leave a legacy through a dedicated focus on environmental sustainability. It will also run a competition for the best environmentally friendly stand/project/supplier as encouragement.

For Young Professionals in Waste Management, there will be networking opportunities such as social events, meet-ups, and sessions dedicated to research papers being conducted by Young Professionals, as well as feedback on the activities and work of the ISWA Young Professionals Group (ISWA YPG).

The Students Programme will offer funding and bursary opportunities for students who would otherwise not be able to attend the conference.  Applicants will be expected to read a paper at the conference and submit a report on their experiences at the end of the event.

The conference will, subject to funding availability, include a volunteer programme designed to facilitate participation by students, interns and retirees involved in waste management.   There will also be opportunities for students from local universities to be invited to visit the exhibition free of charge to learn more about the Waste Management Industry, to encourage them to take up careers in waste management. A Scholars Programme will provide opportunities for interested learners to visit the conference exhibition free of charge. 

ISWA2024 World Congress is organised by the IWMSA partnered by the City of Cape Town, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, South African Airways, ISWA African Chapter and the ISWA YPG.

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