- The Western Cape is running out of place to store its rubbish
- More than half of its landfill sites are closed and those remaining have less than five years left before they are also closed
- Plans are in place to reduce waste and open regional waste facilities to handles the millions of tonnes of waste produced each year
The Western Cape is facing a crisis and this time it has nothing to do with water. Simply put they are running out of place to store their trash.
Three million tonnes of waste was generated by the province in 2017 according to government estimates, with the city of Cape Town producing as much as 7000 tonnes of waste a day.
Rudolf van Jaarsveldt, head of communication for environmental affairs, says the province is battling to keep up with the mountains of rubbish being produced.
"The growth in waste quantities is placing a strain on the limited waste management infrastructure," Van Jaarsveldt said.
In addition more than half of the landfills in the province, 93 out of 164, have closed after reaching the end of their lifespan.
An audit found that 61% of the landfills that were still in operation required urgent and 'major improvements'.
Most of the landfills left in the province have less than five years left before they too are closed. The department has plans to open new regional waste facilities instead of landfills. This would provide a solution, a short term one.
The solution to the problem is not more landfill sites but a change in how people treat waste. Increased recycling initiatives and active efforts to minimising waste are the only sustainable options. Currently the province recycles 1.8-million tonnes of waste a year.
Some projects that are in the pipeline include new technology such as bacteria which break down waste and turn it into energy.
The provincial government plans to divert half of all organic waste away from landfills and in five years they plan on banning all landfill sites completely.
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