Dumpsite scramble

Only 11 local authorities have valid environmental clearance certificates for their landfill sites.

23 August 2019 | Environment

Several municipalities are moving fast to comply with the ministry of environment's new regulations, which require towns to obtain environmental clearance certificates for their dumpsites.

So far, only 11 local authorities have valid certificates.

After the Environmental Management Act was gazetted in 2012, the environment ministry started engaging with local authorities and regional councils to improve standards of waste management.

As part of the new regulations municipalities must submit environmental impact assessments (EIAs) for existing and future dumpsites.

The Keetmanshoop municipality is in the process of decommissioning its old dumpsite while planning a new dumpsite at an identified location, says its manager for economic development, Jegg Christiaan.

“We are currently busy with the decommissioning of the old dumpsite. We have appointed an environmentalist who has now finalised the rehabilitation plan for the existing dumpsite,” Christiaan says.

According to him, an environmental impact assessment has been done and approved for the new dumpsite.

“Money has been set aside for the decommissioning and rehabilitation of the old dumpsite.

“The commissioning of the new dumpsite will coincide with the decommissioning of the old dumpsite. We foresee significant financial outlays on the rehabilitation and commissioning activities,” he says.

According to him the municipality is doing everything in its power to ensure that the new dumpsite complies with environmental regulations.

“As part of the creation of the new dumpsite there is an environmental plan in place that we are required to adhere to,” Christiaan says.

Grootfontein municipal spokesperson Luke Salomo says the town's current dumpsite does not comply with the new regulations, but it is a temporary site and the council is developing a new one.

The Katima Mulilo town council's economic development officer, Charlie Ntema, says the municipality is negotiating for a piece of land where it can establish a new dumpsite. The ministry of environment has ordered the town council to close its existing dump.

“A potential dumping site has been identified but it falls outside the town boundaries. We are negotiating with the traditional authority that owns the land. We have sent an application to the ministry of environment. Once we own the land we will apply for an EIA,” Ntema says.

Rundu town council spokesperson Benjamin Makayi says his municipality is compliant.

“The Rundu town council is in possession of an environmental clearance certificate for the operation of its dumpsite, which was issued by the ministry of environment in May 2017. This was after an environmental impact assessment was carried out in 2016 to determine whether the dumpsite was being managed within the ambit of the law,” says Makayi.

The Mariental municipality is preparing bidding documents for the completion of its EIA, says its senior manager for economic development, Catherine Boois.

“The bidding document is prepared for the EIA for our dumpsite to be commissioned,” she said.

According to her, money has been budgeted for the EIA to be completed. In the meantime, the municipality has fenced its waste disposal site.

The municipality of Tsumeb did not respond to a query despite numerous efforts to engage them.

Earlier this month, environment minister Pohamba Shifeta expressed concern about local councils that had not adequately addressed concerns about waste disposal.

According to the ministry, only 11 local authorities currently comply with the regulations.

“The ministry of environment continues to be concerned about the impacts of poor waste management practices on the environment and public health. There is a lack of waste collection in many areas, such as at informal settlements within the urban areas and in rural areas or settlements under regional councils,” Shifeta said.

There is concern about areas that fall outside the jurisdiction of local authorities, he said.

“In many settlements and in areas outside the jurisdiction of local authorities, there is often a complete absence of formal facilities for waste disposal. I have tasked the National Solid Waste Management Advisory Panel to look into solutions for this matter in line with the National Solid Waste Management Strategy,” Shifeta said.

To date, only Windhoek, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Okahao, Oranjemund, Oshakati, Ruacana, Rundu and Ondangwa comply with the new regulations according to a list published by the ministry.

Several village councils and settlements are also compliant, including Eheke and Epukiro.

OGONE TLHAGE

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