Renewed appeal for recycling as Joburg landfill sites run out of space

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Johannesburg’s landfill sites will only have space for the next four and a half years. As a result, there’s a renewed appeal to residents to recycle.

The city generates 4 000 tonnes of waste daily.

The largest dump site, Robinson Deep, is also running out of space.

Where was once a flat piece of land is now a mountain of waste. On its smelly shoulders, trucks arrive one after another. Buckling under tons of domestic waste is all buried there.

Man-made waste is slowly morphing into another mountain.

“We have got about on average four and a half years left of landfill space in the city,” says Pikitup COO Christopher Dyani.

Dyani made a plea as the city’s largest dump site is running out of space.

“The main thing that we’d encourage the residents to do is to recycle.”

Many are responding to the plea. 48-year old Francina Rammabi is among them. She’s been separating waste for 19 years.

She says the separation is very important to as it cleans the environment.

Since 2001, she’s given employment to well over 6 000 people.

“We are alleviating poverty in the community of Alex. I’m helping them to put bread on the table,” she says.

Waste collector Naomi Makola says her family survives on the collection.

“My family survives with the recyclable. It helps me a lot because my first born is at school now.”

This is a role that has not gone unnoticed. Rammabi’s co-operative joined hands with five others and their efforts recognised.

She and others have received awards for her co-operative.

Another award recipient, Peter Mokwebo says the recycling industry needs to open.

“Recycling has money. To be honest, it just needs us to open that industry.”

Award recipient, Mbali Plaatjie says she is grateful that her work has received recognition.

“I am so happy and I am grateful that I am appreciated in the work that I do and the effort that I make.”

Over a 100 000 people are making a livelihood through waste collection.

Minister of Environmental Affairs Barbara Creecy says the government has a responsibility to formalise the industry.

Government’s responsibility

“One of our duties as government is to ensure that we constantly work with these co-operatives to formalise their activities, to make them safer, to ensure that they have the infrastructure they need to do their work.”

City of Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo says what the recycling co-operatives are doing is the future.

“What these co-operatives are doing is the future and of course, there is a lot that (can be done) with waste. I mean waste to energy initiatives, catching of the methane gas from the landfill site in order to generate energy,” says Makhubo.

The aim is to create a world without waste.

“Our products come in packaging and they do end up at landfill sites. We want to create that world without waste by 2030. We know that the world has a packaging problem and we are contributors to that,” says Communications Manager of Beverage Company, Pertunia Dlamini.

Joburg residents urged to keep on recycling: