THE country’s waste problems could soon be something of the past provided municipalities adhere to long-awaited countrywide domestic waste collection standards, approved by national government this week.
The standards set out the rules and regulations for how domestic waste should be collected, as well as acting as a guide for municipalities on how to provide acceptable, affordable and sustainable waste collection services.
The standards covers the levels of service, separation at source (between recyclable and non-recyclable materials), collection vehicles, receptacles, collection of waste in communal collection points, and the frequency of collection.
It also stipulates that drop-off centres for recyclable materials not collected at houses must be easily accessible and within reasonable distances of households.
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality spokesman Kupido Baron said even though the strategy had been approved by Cabinet, the implementation would be phased in over a five-year period.
“When the NMBM receives the method of implementation from Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), (the municipality’s) Waste Management will be able to set time frames.”
Baron said it was “premature” to comment on whether the municipality would issue different bins to separate the garbage into recyclable and non-recyclable items.
“When Waste Management has established what is required in the implementation programme, the method as well as receptacles to be used will be decided.”
DA councillor Dean Biddulph said even though he supported the initiative, it was important for the municipality first to set priorities.
“The metro must first concentrate on clearing the mountains of existing rubbish which are frequently seen on sidewalks as these create immediate health hazards for affected residents.”
DA Environmental spokesman John Cupido said implementation of the new national regulations was “long overdue”.
“It is imperative that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and all other municipalities in the province immediately start the process of implementation,” he added.