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Environmental Affairs lifts lid on municipal waste problems

The Department of Environmental Affairs has published its “Municipal Waste Sector Plan: Challenges with Waste Service Provision in South Africa” in Government Gazette number 35206 on 30 March 2012. The plan is for immediate implementation.

Subsequent to a study assessing waste service delivery at local government level, the DoEA developed this plan to assist government, especially municipalities, in putting systems and mechanisms in place to deal with waste service backlogs. The plan provides an overview of the roles and responsibilities of different spheres of government in relation to waste removal services. It includes indicators and targets for addressing backlogs. There is also an action plan to achieve the waste delivery target of providing waste collection services to all urban households, dense settlements, and rural areas on a sustainable basis. The plan provides an overview of the role to be played by multiple stakeholders, but the main focus is on the roles and responsibilities of district and local municipalities.

Given the close link between, on the one hand, infant and child mortality and, on the other, the health and cleanliness of children’s environment, this plan is critical to achieving national and international goals related to improved child survival and well-being. It should be supported by all stakeholders, especially those in the ECD and health sectors.