Tag Archives: South Africa

At stake in Johannesburg’s ‘recycling wars’: more than trash

At stake in Johannesburg’s ‘recycling wars’: more than trash. Christian Science Monitor, April 2017.

Informal and formal sectors of the economy work side-by-side in many African nations – but can they work together?

APRIL 11, 2017 JOHANNESBURG—In another lifetime, Louis Mahlangu was an electrician. It was a good job, challenging and respectable, the kind of profession that could make his family proud. wastepickers

There was just one problem.

“There was no work,” he says. No matter how hard he looked, Mr. Mahlangu was barely finding enough jobs to scrape by. Then his sister invited him to tag along to her job. The hours were good, she promised, and the pay – well, it was better than anything he was likely to earn replacing wiring in suburban houses.

And so he put on a pair of rubber rain boots, hiked to the top of a squelching mountain of Johannesburg’s garbage, and began digging for plastic.

Twenty-two years later, he’s still there, along with thousands of others like him, collecting dinged Coke bottles and pulverized yogurt cartons discarded by the city’s residents and selling them on to private recycling companies. At his peak, Mahlangu says, he made up to $1000 each month, a respectable wage in a country where the newly proposed minimum wage is around $250 per month.

Read the complete article.

Could alternative sanitation help South Africa’s water security?

Could alternative sanitation help SA’s water security? Infrastructure News, April 3, 2017.

As the 30th driest country in the world, South Africa is facing greater water security challenges with increasing periods of drought and unpredictable rainfall patterns.

According to a case study on alternative sanitation for water security done by Tomorrow Matters Now, 19.5% of South Africans are still without an improved sanitation service and 4.9% of South Africans have no access to sanitation. Caption-2-Knight-Piesold-768x510

For 60% of water management systems, water demand is overtaken by supply, while 98% of our available water resources are already being used. At the same time, South Africa’s water and sanitation infrastructure is crumbling because of a chronic lack of investment.

Local municipalities are faced with these challenges and its effects on a daily basis.

Some of these include the age old problems of institutional or financial shortcomings and capacity constraints, a delay in sanitation services linked to a delay in housing, and the continued maintenance and improvement of basic sanitation.

Waste management has also become an increasing problem with water treatment plants having released raw sewage into rivers in the past due to poor management and maintenance backlogs.

The case study found the need for alternative means of sanitation.

Providing universal access to conventional waterborne sanitation is one of government’s biggest challenges, and the critical aspects of hygiene and dignity, as well as a healthy and resilient environment need to be addressed.

The study said that ‘flushing’ cannot be the solution as we cannot continue to use clean, potable water to flush waste. “We need game-changing new technologies which require little or no water,” the findings suggested.

Read the complete article.

South Africa: Innovative decentralised wastewater system offers massive water and energy-saving benefits

Innovative decentralised wastewater system offers massive water and energy-saving benefits. Cape Business News, December 15, 2016.

Maskam Water’s premises in Brackenfell Industria was the venue for the launch of a highly-innovative decentralised wastewater treatment system, which could revolutionise the approach to providing dignified sanitation to disadvantaged and rural communities. In addition, the system will save the country millions of litres of precious potable water by substituting treated water with recycled water for sanitation, industrial or irrigation use all at a fraction of the cost.

wastewater

The newly-installed Clarus Fusion ZF4000 at a public school in Oyster Bay

These are the claims made for the Clarus Fusion Sewage Treatment System, which features 50%+ local manufacture by Maskam Water through a joint venture (JV) with licence holders, the Zoeller Pump Company in the USA.

The occasion commemorated the success of the JV and the unveiling of the largest single unit yet supplied to the local market, which will treat 15,000ℓ per day of black or grey water and serve a community of up to 100 people.

Gerhard Cronje, Founder and CEO, Maskam Water outlined the advantages of decentralised wastewater systems and the differences compared with large conventional systems.

“The traditional approach to treating sewage or wastewater has been through water borne sewage systems and large energy hungry wastewater treatment plants that more often ‘waste’ this valuable resource,” he said.

“The Clarus Fusion system is a grassroots product that is modular, easily expandable, simple to install and maintain, has very low energy requirements, can operate on solar power and recycles treated wastewater on site at less than R1.88 per kℓ.

Read the complete article.

Dying for a pee – Cape Town’s slum residents battle for sanitation

Dying for a pee – Cape Town’s slum residents battle for sanitation | Source: Reuters, Oct 12 2016 |

Cape Town’s Khayelitsha township is seen

Cape Town’s Khayelitsha township is seen in this picture taken October 4, 2016. Picture taken October 4, 2016. THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/Johnny Miller

CAPE TOWN (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Siphesihle Mbango was just six years old when her friend, Asenathi, begged her to go with her to the toilet then ran outside alone – and was never seen again.

Now 12, Mbango tells the story with an intense, unflinching gaze but her hands, fidgeting nervously as she speaks, show the trauma is still raw.

“We were at the crèche and she wanted me to go with her,” but I told her I was busy, I was playing, I didn’t want to go and she went out by herself,” she said, at her home in a Cape Town slum.

“It was a long time she was away and when the teachers asked me, I told them she went to the toilet. They looked and looked for her for a long, long time. But then we lost hope. We never saw her again.”

Mbango shares a one-room shack with her grandmother and two younger siblings in Endlovisi, a vast sprawl of more than 6,600 corrugated iron shacks perched precariously over the sand dunes on the southeastern edge of the South African city.

Part of Khayelitsha, one of the world’s five biggest slums, Endlovini is home to an estimated 20,000 people who share just 380 or so communal toilets.

However, the family live in an area where there are no easily accessible toilets at all – and according to the community, residents have literally been dying for a pee.

Read the complete article.

Enabling factors for the existence of waste pickers: A systematic review

Enabling factors for the existence of waste pickers: A systematic reviewSocial work (Stellenbosch. Online) vol.52 n.1 Stellenbosch 2016. Authors: Rinie Schenck; Derick Blaauw; Kotie Viljoen.

The paper reports on a systematic review research process to determine the enabling factors for waste pickers to operate in the informal economy in South Africa. Twenty-eight South African journal articles, theses and position and policy papers were sourced and appraised.

The results indicate that recognition of the waste pickers in the waste system is the most enabling factor for them to operate. The concept of recognition is analysed, described and explained as assisting waste pickers to become more visible, having a voice and to be validated.

Sometimes you don’t make enough money to buy food: An analysis of South African street waste pickers income

Sometimes you don’t make enough money to buy food: An analysis of
South African street waste pickers income:, 2016. Economic Research Southern Africa Brief.

Authors: By JMM Viljoen, PF Blaauw and CJ Schenck

Local governments however, can play an important role in protecting and enhancing the income-earning opportunities of street waste pickers. Local governments should create an environment in which higher quantities of quality waste are made accessible to the street waste pickers.

One such initiative is the ‘separation of waste at source’ initiative. The benefits of a well-considered system of ‘separation at source’ will provide street waste pickers access to bigger volumes of semi-sorted waste, as well as higher quality waste which will enhance their income-earning opportunities.

Local governments should further facilitate infrastructure such as Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs), sorting facilities, and more efficient BBCs to assist street waste pickers to collect and sell higher volumes of waste. It is difficult for street waste pickers to sort and clean the waste properly without a place or space to sort the waste. Therefore, there is an urgent need for sorting and storage space to enable street waste pickers to sort the waste they have collected properly as better-sorted and higher quality waste reach higher prices.

Continue reading

Deadly toilet trips for women in Cape Town’s informal settlements

Deadly toilet trips for women in Cape Town’s informal settlements | Source: Times Live, May 25, 2016 |

violence

RISKY BUSINESS: A woman walks back to her shack after using a toilet in Khayelitsha

Women in Cape Town’s informal settlements are at high risk of rape for 15 minutes every day as they walk to and from toilets.

The finding, by researchers at Yale University in the US, comes as an international monitoring organisation said the City of Cape Town’s budget for installing toilets in informal settlements has been virtually unchanged for a decade, despite the fact that one-fifth of households are in informal settlements.

Yesterday, hundreds of Khayelitsha residents marched to the Civic Centre to hand over a petition demanding improved sanitation in informal settlements.

“Using a toilet in many informal settlements is one of the most dangerous activities for residents,” the petition read.

“Women, children and men of all ages are frequently robbed, raped, assaulted and murdered on the way to relieve themselves in a toilet, bushes or empty clearings often very far from their homes.”

Yale’s researchers quantified the link between sexual assaults, the number of sanitation facilities and time spent walking to the toilet.

Read the complete article.