A waste-free future: Ekurhulen

Image credit Pixabay/RitaE

A waste-free future: Ekurhuleni scales up waste management plans

The City of Ekurhuleni has revamped two mini disposal sites in Leondale and Vosloorus.

A waste-free future: Ekurhulen

Image credit Pixabay/RitaE

The sites will serve as catalysts to promote cleanliness in the city and “eradicate the scourge of illegal dumping,” Ekurhuleni’s spokesperson Themba Gadebe said in a press release.

At the launch of the new disposal sites, Cllr Ndosi Shongwe pointed out that the city needs smarter recycling strategies and touched on the need to produce less waste.

“We are gradually running out of space and need to do everything necessary to minimise the amount of waste reaching our disposal sites. It is our wish that these facilities must serve as catalysts to promote local economic development activities, such as composting of waste.”

What residents need to know about Ekurhuleni’s mini dumping sites

Residents from Leondale and Vosloorus can deposit waste items at two new containers on the sites. It will be free of charge to dispose of garden waste, paper, plastic, cardboard, wood, metal and rubble less than 1m³.

MMC for Environment and Waste Management Services Ndosi Shongwe (middle) flanked from the left by HOD for Environment and Waste Management Services Faith Mabindisa and Cllr Vela Mabanga, and on the right is Cllr Thandi Nkosi and Cllr Fuzile Booi. Image supplied.

The site will be open every day of the week, including on holidays, except for Christmas. Residents should note that the sites will have different operating hours depending on the seasons.

From April to September, the disposal site will be open from 7:00 to 18:00, and from 7:00 to 19:00 from October to March. This was decided with consideration to the safety of residents and staff.

Why illegal dumping is a problem

Illegal dumpin poses health risks, from sustaining physical injuries to the site turning into a breeding ground for mosquitoes which could lead to the spread of malaria. Mosquitoes multiply 100 times faster in stagnant water collecting in waste tires.

It also has a detrimental effect on the environment and can impede the natural runoff of water during storm seasons, which in turn, could lead to flash floods.

Residents are urged to report any illegal dumping to the City of Joburg on 0860 562 874, or Pikitup, on 011 688 1500. Alternatively, mail illegaldumping@pikitup.co.za.

Read: Rubbish piles up in East London

Skip bins stationed at the mini dumping sites for waste brought in by residents. Image supplied

Why the need to generate less waste

Our landfills are filling up due to increasing concentrations of people in urban areas and lack of adequate provision for sites. This, in turn, leads to water pollution when a community’s drinking water is contaminated, or air pollution when natural gasses are released from the decay of waste materials. Individuals constantly exposed to these conditions could develop lung and heart complications.

Reducing the amount of waste we produce could save money and energy in the long run. If an object is not bought in the first place then the energy it takes for an item to be shipped, processed and recycled is not needed.

Our society has reached the point where the energy necessary to extract oil from the ground, ship it to a refinery where it’s moulded it into a plastic spoon, packaged, shipped overseas and/or transported by truck to a supermarket only to be used once and thrown away is considered less effort than just washing a non-disposable spoon when we’re done with it.

Read: Six things to know as Johannesburg officially makes recycling mandatory

plastic spoon
Image credit: Pixabay/Dennis

How to generate less waste

There are several ways we can start producing less waste now, and it’s not nearly as hard as one might think. It might take a while for these habits to form, but it’s worth it in the long run.

The easiest way is to stop buying plastic bags from supermarkets. Instead, buy a reusable cloth or canvas bag, or make one at home. One plastic bag can take hundreds of years to degrade.

Next would be to say no to disposable single-use plastic items like straws, polystyrene cups, plates, plastic spoons, etc. If possible, switch to items packaged in cardboard instead of plastic.

Those thin plastic bags in the vegetable aisles at Food Lovers Market, Spar and Pick n Pay? Yeah, skip those. Instead, take a reusable cloth bag. Store employees generally understand when it comes to this. Most Food Lovers Markets are already on board thanks to Zero Waste Warrior, Colleen Black. 

More tips and trick for zero waste food shopping can be found on her website, Life Lived Simply.