Byline: Kelebogile Masemola

14 September 2022

Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister, Ms Barbara Creecy, has made a clarion call to all South Africans to join the national clean up and recycle week activities countrywide.

“Litter is a serious problem in South Africa, and most of the littered waste materials can be recycled and thus diverted from landfill.

By participating in clean-up and recycling activities in both our rural and urban communities, we are contributing to a cleaner environment that will contribute to a healthier society,” said the Minister. 

Clean-Up and Recycle Week is an annual initiative by the local industry, supported and endorsed by the various packaging and retail streams and retailers.

Recycling of packaging and electrical and electronic products has seen a boost in 2022 with the historic legislated investment of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) fees by various producers.

These EPR fees are currently being used to improve collection of recyclables, compensation of waste pickers and improve overall recycling. 

Various producers and Producer Responsibility Organisations have submitted interim waste recycling performance reports by 30 August 2022 on their recycling efforts against the 2022 targets. 

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) launched the R44.5 million worth National Waste Collection and Landfill Management Fleet as an intervention to address waste collection issues in un-serviced areas, illegal dumping and landfill operations in selected municipalities across all provinces.

The municipalities have also intensified cleaning efforts especially those that have benefitted from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant Policy reform through the purchasing of the necessary yellow fleet.

Every year, close to 120 000 volunteers participate in a range of clean-up activities that take place along roadsides, rivers, schools, residential and illegal dumping sites.

The initiative is supported by provincial governments, local municipalities, environmental organisations, businesses, schools and communities.

This year, activities will take place between 12 and 17 September.

The activities being undertaken by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment will take place under the umbrella of the Good Green Deeds Programme, which highlights the importance of active citizenry in the protection and management of natural resources and pollution in the neighbourhoods they live in, rivers, beaches and the oceans. 

Community awareness and clean-up activities will be held in Polokwane and the village of Nobody Ga-Mothiba in Limpopo, Umbongintwini on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast and along the Entshawini River in KwaDukuza, Emathafeni and Elandshoek in Mbombela, Mpumalanga and in Roodepoort, Gauteng. 

Clean-ups will also take place at Dakota Beach and Scottsburg, Blydesdale, Zinkwazi, Ballito and Tugela beaches, KwaZulu-Natal and Alkantstrand beach, in Buffalo City, Eastern Cape and at Groot Brakrivier and the Tegniet and Reebok beaches in Mossel Bay, Western Cape. 

The Minister urges all communities, schools, business and NGOs to join hands and clean up their neighbourhoods so that we can keep South Africa free of litter. 

Where possible, the waste collected should be recycled or sent to repurposing.

Furthermore, communities are strongly encouraged to mobilize and initiate separation at source initiatives in their neighbourhoods by encouraging households and businesses to support education and awareness raising activities, waste picker support and allocate waste sorting areas that are easily accessible to everyone. 

South Africans are further reminded that the waste sector has a valuable contribution to job creation and economic development.

“We would like to see a society where all of us are recycling, encourage reuse and reduction on the amount of waste we generate.

We strongly stand against illegal dumping and littering. A week such as this is an ideal opportunity for all to start regular community activities to clean our environment,” said the Minister.